Brazil's Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) may take satellite ground monitoring systems to African countries. Representatives of the Embrapa office in Ghana, Africa, are going to hand in a document containing the proposal to the heads at the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), comprised of 60 wood producer and consumer countries, among them Egypt.
The document is going to be submitted by Embrapa this week, during a meeting of the ITTO, to take place in Ghana. According to the coordinator at Embrapa-Africa, Cláudio Bragantini, the proposal may also be presented verbally during the meeting. The idea is to take the system to Western African countries. According to Bragantini, it may also be used in other nations in the region, depending on the system's range.
Countries that would use the monitoring, with the support of Embrapa, include Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria. The coordinator explains that the proposal is for those countries, gathered under the ITTO, to purchase the equipment, after which Embrapa would manage the system and supply training. Linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Embrapa has 30 years' experience in satellite monitoring.
According to Bragantini, the system would be mostly used for monitoring plant cover. In other words, its task would be to check whether farming lands are drawing near the woods and if the woods are being burnt, among others. It could also be used for spotting water springs and estimating the size of agricultural crops. "They have a lot of trouble trying to estimate their crops," says the coordinator.
The Western African countries grow products such as cocoa, coffee, cashew nut and other foods, such as corn, for subsistence. According to Bragantini, the presentation at the ITTO meeting will only give an overview of the project's idea and concept. Should the countries' interest be confirmed, Embrapa-Africa is going to bring in specialists from Brazil to provide further detail on the subject.
The Embrapa office in Ghana was opened approximately a year and a half ago. By means of it, the company works to bring new technologies to the region and help improve African agricultural performance. The ITTO is an intergovernmental organization turned to international cooperation in commerce and use of tropical timber, based on sustainability principles.