The Netherlands to use satellite technology to combat global hunger
This week, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, attended the Climate Change conference in Marrakesh, to follow up on topics discussed at the Paris summit last year.
In an effort to encourage businesses and individuals alike to take full responsibility for Climate Change on a global scale, the Minister announced a whole host of solutions that could have profound effects on agricultural methods in developing countries.
The threat of Climate Change
It is easy for those living in developed countries to take their food supply for granted. Yet the problems of drought, rising temperatures and flooding, faced by many farmers abroad will eventually affect us all.
According to Ploumen, "it’s often the poorest people in the poorest countries who are hit hardest by climate change." For example, "in Mozambique, smallholders can hardly make a living because their crops can’t survive in the ongoing drought."
Whilst governments of these countries are implementing plans to prevent such hazards, the Minister urges the international community to help out.
The G4AW programme
Managed by the Netherlands Space Office, an extra 20 million euros of funding is to be assigned to the Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) programme.
This programme will bring together telecom and insurance companies, banks, seed producers and suppliers, together with NGOs and satellite data companies to support farming methods in producing more food, more efficiently, at lower costs in countries where it is most needed.
With the help of satellite technology linked to their smart phones, cattle farmers for example, will be able to check the availability of water for their cattle, and thus find the best areas for them to graze. They will also be able to check the market prices enabling them to make important decisions on where best to sell their produce.
Another way that improved technology can help is by determining more accurate results in meteorology, for example. Smallholder famers can take out more affordable insurances based on more precise results, which will in turn protect them against unexpected droughts.
The minister expressed that she was also eager for Dutch agri-businesses to form partnerships with China and Africa to increase bamboo production which would both prevent deforestation and secure a better wage for farmers.
Another topic at the heart of her agenda was the issue of palm oil production; one of the main reasons for the massive loss of our forests. She hopes that the Netherlands will work with big palm oil companies to work towards more sustainable production worldwide.
The business incentive
The Minister was equally adamant about having Dutch businesses collaborate with other industries and made promises of attractive profit margins. She claimed that investments in cleaner, more efficient, renewable energy, could grow by 18 trillion dollars by 2035.
The sustainable energy industry is currently worth 5,5 billion dollars and expected to grow by three percent a year.
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