28 Mar 2022

Farmers in Ghana are facing uncertainty. Climate change, drought and lack of market access make accurately predicting crop yields and income difficult, and a lack of reliable data makes decision making a challenge. Big Data Ghana set out to help.

Big Data Ghana’s GAIMS platform is driven by satellite, AI and machine learning technologies to provide crucial insights to smallholders across Ghana. As a winner of the Digital Earth Africa Innovation Challenge, Big Data Ghana joined a 3-month incubator program, where Digital Earth Africa data was integrated with other data sources to improve the GAIMS proposition by integrating analysis ready data, with a particular focus on improving irrigation practises in Upper West Ghana.

Most farmers in this region practice rain-fed agriculture,” explains Henry Baffoe, Director Technical and Strategies at Big Data Ghana. “So by integrating DE Africa data, we can help stakeholders like Ghana Irrigation Development Authority and the financial institutions serving these individuals to know where and what type of irrigation would benefit them and make this information available at their fingertips.”

By liaising with Smallholder Representative Groups, private sector organisations and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority, Big Data Ghana was able to gather insights into what information stakeholders really needed to access.

The team at Big Data Ghana were able to draw from Digital Earth Africa’s open and analysis ready data and services, including Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station (CHIRPS) and NDVI, to identify areas of green vegetation. These, and other data sources form the basis of an app that visualises insights about irrigation, soil and productivity. The team also benefited from working with FrontierSI’s Caitlin Adams, renowned for her work in pushing the boundaries of science in Earth observation.

Next steps for Big Data Ghana include investigating how to stream DE Africa data to enable on-the-fly analysis and modelling, significantly enhancing their capacity.