Soil conditions, water availability, weather extremes and climate change can represent costly challenges to farmers. On the other hand space-based technologies can help farmers and agricultural policy makers to enhance production and profitability, as well as reduce negative impacts of these challenges on the environment.
With this in mind the National Space Science Agency (NSSA) and the National Initiative for Agricultural Development (NIAD), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate collaboration and enhance cooperation in this vital sector.
The memo was concluded by NSSA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Eng. Mohamed Al Aseeri and the Initiative’s Secretary General , Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa.
The MoU aims to provide technical support for projects that are being supervised by NIAD in addition to exchanging experiences, implementing joint awareness workshops about space science and its applications in serving the agriculture sector in the Kingdom.
Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Eng. Mohamed Al Aseeri said: “Space science has a variety of uses, including remote sensing applications in the field of agriculture, which has resulted in a qualitative leap in the ability to determine the types of plants grown, their health conditions, crop yield, monitoring soli conditions, monitoring drought, estimating the amount of water for irrigation and much more”
In this regard, Shaikha Maram commented, “We are looking forward to this cooperation to ensure the best common achievements in a number of projects and to benefit from the expertise available at NSSA in the field of preparing studies based on satellite imagery and data that serve the agriculture sector in the Kingdom. Agriculture was a major and important sector of Bahrain’s economy historically and the date cultivation was the main dominant in the Kingdom’s agriculture, producing quality and sufficient dates for the local consumption and export.”
While there was indeed the threat of Bahrain’s agricultural production decreasing due to the lack of available water resources and shortage of land, the implementation of alternative crop production methods has left the hope of an increasingly more sustainable future for the agriculture sector in the Kingdom.
According to a Mordor Intelligence Report, Bahrain agriculture is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 1.5% starting from 2019-2024.