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Online Training Workshop on Geospatial Information Applications for Agricultural Monitoring in Lower Mekong Basin Countries

2020-09-10
The closing ceremony of “Online Training Workshop on Geospatial Information Applications for Agricultural Monitoring in Lower Mekong Basin Countries (Aug 5th-26th)” jointly organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Alliance of International Science Organizations (ANSO) and Group of Earth Observation Global Agriculture Monitoring Flagship (GEOGLAM) was held on August 26th, 2020. The training workshop was hosted by CropWatch-ICP (http://cloud.cropwatch.com.cn/) in Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). 
 
At the Opening Session of the workshop on August 5th, Ms. Tiziana Bonapace, the Director of ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division (IDD), ESCAP, Prof. Jinghua Cao, the Executive Director of ANSO Secretariat, and Ms. Jie Liu, the Director of the International Corporation Division of AIR/CAS gave welcome remarks. Ms. Tiziana pointed out the importance of the online training on space applications for food security and agricultural resilience, which is an innovative modality for learning within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prof. Cao presented that the goal of ANSO is promoting and advancing the SDGs with concrete S&T actions, he also emphasized the online training is to provide capacity building in southeast Asian countries on food security by using the innovation technology of agricultural monitoring. Building a more resilient food system relies on different factors, including agricultural data in real and near time for capturing the essential needs of nations, regions, communities and farmers, and platform to synthesize these data to support policymakers for maximizing the outcome of interventions. The online training is to build resilient agricultural practices by integrating geospatial information for agricultural monitoring in the Lower Mekong Basin through providing technical support in utilizing cloud platform for monitoring crop condition, crop stress, and production at national to sub-national level for Lower Mekong countries. 

The training workshop lasted 3 weeks, consisted of 6 plenary session, parallel sessions and practices. The plenary session introduced methodology, CropWatch processing, explore and analysis components, and extended knowledges by inviting professors or experts from CropWatch team and University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS). The parallel sessions were organized to check and review the assignments country by country. Flexible schedule for each country depending on the availability of lectures and trainees. Practices included system registration, thematic maps generation for national or provincial scale, crop analysis for national or provincial scale, In-situ data collection and uploading, and country analysis.  

Totally 47 people from government agencies or research institutions of Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam have participated in this training program. They have learned about the technology of earth observation on CropWatch crop monitoring, and mastered skills of agroclimatic and agronomic indicators preprocessing, thematic mapping, and GVG field data collection. Most of them have completed national and sub-region analysis on crop condition. 

The training program set up an evaluation committee to assess the quality of the assignment done by every trainee and finally 1 excellent analyst and 9 good analysts had been selected. Dr. Noppadon Khiripet, Principle Researcher from NECTEC, Thailand, was selected as the excellent analyst. Ms. Meas Sotheavy, Deputy Director, Department of Planning and Statistics, MAFF, Cambodia, Mr. Luong Tuan Trung, Vietnam Academy for Water Resources, Ms. Jatuporn Nontasiri, OAE, Thailand and other six trainees from the four countries were selected as very good analysts. 

Following training courses, the next steps were proposed and discussed, including making plan for 2020-2021 continued support and service to LMC, localizing CropWatch system, joint paper or reports by experts of LMC and CropWatch team, video clips of field missions for the 4th Ministerial Conference on Space Applications in 2022,online exhibitions of outcomes of training and works. Field works and translation for customized CropWatch national platform will be conducted with support of ESCAP, and more practices and cooperation will be carried out to address the specific requirements of countries, such as sugarcane assessment and yield prediction for Thailand. The participants from LMC expressed the motivation on learning CropWatch technology and warming interests to the following trainings and continual cooperation.    

 
 


Photo for closing ceremony of CropWatch online training on August 26, 2020
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