ESFA – Empirical Seasonal Forecasts for Agriculture
Winning project from the 3rd Open Call funded by the AI4Copernicus Project
Country: Spain | Domain: Agriculture
An interview with the winners – Joan Saladich, representing the ESFA project
Q: What was your motivation for creating this proposal?
A: Agricultural production has been increasingly exposed to unfavourable climate and extreme events in the last decades. Examples of such conditions are heat stress, drought, and excessive rainfall. These events can lead to heavy reductions (even failures) of crop yield quantity and quality, with potential regional-to-global consequences in the agricultural markets. Numerous scientific studies conclude that Climate Change is projected to further exacerbate this tendency. At Geoskop we believe that the resilience of the agricultural sector can be significantly strengthened by developing and implementing dedicated sectorial seasonal forecast services, aimed at reducing climate risk exposure in addition to increasing the potential of the agricultural markets.
Q: Which is the most critical impact (societal or other) that your project could make (if you could name one)?
A: The ESFA project will bring two positive benefits for our society. On one hand, a new generation of AI-based Seasonal Forecast will be developed, overcoming the lack of precision of current Seasonal Forecasts Systems, a requirement so demanded by the industry. On the other hand, the resilience and climate-adaptation of a number of industrial sectors will be enhanced through the development and implementation of ESFA, with agriculture being the first sector to benefit from such climate services.
Q: Considering the recent funding received through the AI4Copernicus Open Calls, do you have any plans for further development of your idea?
A: Geoskop’s primary objective is to further develop the resulting Empirical Seasonal Forecast from both a technical and a market perspectives. We have already validated and deployed a year ahead Climate Predictions in different sectors, such as renewable energy and FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods). Our technology is fully supplemented with the Seasonal Forecast developed in this project.
A few words about the project: The Copernicus C3S Seasonal Climate Systems (SFS) with their predicting time up to 6 months ahead, offer a great opportunity to inform and support farmers in their agro-management actions, e.g. on: planning of sowing, selection of optimal crop variety, planning of fertilisation and field interventions, disease treatment, and irrigation water use. Yet, these predictive systems are complex, difficult to interpret and not as accurate as a farmer would expect them to be. Hence, a new generation of high-resolution and high-precision Empirical SFS build on top of Copernicus Systems and advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques is developed by Geoskop.