The importance of space data for the agritech sector

When thinking about space studies, extraterrestrial life or space travels are what probably comes to our mind. However, satellites’ activity could be related also to the quality (and quantity) of our everyday food.

Data collected from space are a high-valued source of information for multiple agricultural issues. Space data allow analysts to better predict weather conditions, thus enabling more accurate strategy deployments for farmers. From the single-farmer point of view, there is a variety of possible operational applications:

  • Water and Fertilization Management: data collected from satellites help understanding crops’ status and highlighting which areas of a field need to be irrigated or fertilized.
  • Animal tracking: GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) helps farmers to locate their animals, preventing losses, thefts or unhealthy behaviors.
  • Guidance systems: satellite communications enable the implementation of driverless vehicles or efficient rounting systems.
  • Fishing efficiency: water conditions can be assessed directly from space, thus guiding fishing activities.
  • Strategic/Tactic support: satellite data can be used to address unpredictable crop seasonality problems, providing farmers suggestions on which crops to grow at which time.

Agriculture is going to face severe challenges in the future and space data can therefore support farmers all over the world in defining both sustainable and profitable strategies.

The EU is doing its part, with nearly €4 billion allocated to the Horizon 2020’s Societal Challenge 2. At the same time, ESA (European Space Agency) offers funding and support to space-technology-based businesses in order to develop new commercial services. It is undoubtedly interesting to see how two apparently distant worlds can be related to find new solutions to dramatical problems. We look forward to witnessing the results of such a creative relationship.