Archived Webinar

Digital Ag Series: NASA-Harvest Food Security and Agriculture Program - Sowing Seeds of Food Security in Africa

"Insights into the open-access operational agricultural monitoring systems that provide the best-available open-access EO data that countries can readily take advantage of"

Satellite Earth Observation (EO) availability, rapid developments in methodology to archive and process them through cloud services, and advanced computational capabilities, continue to generate new opportunities for providing accurate, reliable, and timely information for decision-makers across multiple cropping systems. Currently, systems and tools that leverage open-access EO and provide actionable early warning information products exist. Some have already been employed by early adopters and are currently operational in select national monitoring programs. Despite these capabilities, many governments in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) still rely on traditional monitoring systems, which mainly rely on sparse and long latency in situ reports with little to no integration of EO.

This session provides an overview of the NASA Harvest Program and the work under its Africa program and insights into the open-access operational agricultural monitoring systems that provide the best-available open-access EO data that countries can readily take advantage of, adapt, adopt, and leverage to augment national systems and make significant leaps in their monitoring programs.  In the webinar, Dr. Nakalembe will describe the data accessible in these systems and shows typical outputs as well as how these can and have integrated into reporting and decision-making, using examples from East Africa.

About the Presenters

Julian Lampietti

Manager for Global Engagement, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, World Bank

Julian Lampietti is the Manager for Global Engagement in the Agriculture and Food Global Practice. His responsibilities include strategic planning, donor outreach, and oversight for global knowledge and advisory programs. Previously, he managed the Agriculture and Food program in the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Julian used to be based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and he has published books and journal articles on a broad range of topics including poverty, economics, agriculture, food security, logistics, and energy. He has a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s in Natural Resources Economics from Duke University.

Dr. Catherine Nakalembe

Assistant Research Professor, University of Maryland

Dr. Nakalembe is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Maryland. She is the NASA Harvest Africa Program Director, a member of the NASA SERVIR Applied Sciences Team on which she serves as the Agriculture and Food Security Thematic Lead. Catherine has broad research interests including applications of satellite remote sensing and machine learning to agriculture and food security, land use and land-use change mapping, water resources, and climate change, and supports several capacity-building in the use of remote sensing for agriculture monitoring and research. She is a 2020 Africa Food Prize Laureate for her dedication to improving the lives of smallholder farmers by using satellite technology to harness data to guide agricultural decision-making. Her efforts have also promoted the formulation of policies and programs that are directly impacting farmers against the impacts of food failure. Dr. Nakalembe was a 2020 UMD Research Excellence Honoree and in 2019 was a recipient of the Inaugural GEO Individual Excellence Award. She was featured in the 2020 Women and GIS, Volume 2:  Stars of Spatial Science ESRI Press book. Her work led to the development and establishment of food security and crop monitoring bulletins that integrate satellite data including the Tanzania National Food Security Bulletin, the Uganda National Integrated Early Warning Bulletin, Kenya, Rwanda Crop Monitor reports, and the Eastern Africa Crop Monitor as well as designing the trigger mechanism of the disaster risk financing program in Uganda that has supported over 300,000 households in the Karamoja region as part of her Ph.D. research.

Erick Fernandes

Lead Specialist in the Agriculture and Food Global Practice, World Bank Group (WBG)

Erick Fernandes is a Lead Specialist in the Agriculture and Food Global Practice of the World Bank Group (WBG). He heads the WBG’s Ag Observatory that monitors agriculture-relevant weather and impacts on crops across the planet to guide policy responses and mitigation actions. From 2011-2016, he coordinated the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) program for Latin America and the Caribbean region. At the WBG, Erick co-led the economic and sector work and publications related to “Sustainable Land Management (SLM)”, a “Source Book on Investments in SLM”, “Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture in Latin America”, “Climate Change Impacts on Brazilian Agriculture”, “Turn Down the Heat (TDH): Why A 4oC World Must Be Avoided”, “TDH: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience”, “TDH: Confronting the New Climate Normal”, and “Leveraging Agricultural Value Chains to Enhance Tropical Tree Cover and Slow Deforestation (LEAVES).” Erick holds a BS Honors in Forestry from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and a Ph.D. in Soil Science & Agronomy from North Carolina State University (NCSU), USA and was an International Professor of Crop Sciences at Cornell University from 1995-2005. He has 35 years of agriculture and natural resource management experience in Africa, East & South Asia, and Latin America. Over the course of his career, he mentored ~150 MS & Ph.D. students from 30 countries.

Jeehye Kim

Agricultural Economist, World Bank

Jeehye is an Agricultural Economist at the World Bank where she leads and carries out World Bank missions to client countries in the Africa region. Her work includes advising WB’s clients to use digitally-enabled approaches to increase their agricultural projects’ success in sustainable and scalable ways. Applications include mobile-enabled agriculture extension services, mobile money, e-vouchers for agricultural inputs, market price and weather information systems, as well as applications to help smallholder farmers’ access to markets and services. She also builds relationships with industry leaders, executives, development partners, and stakeholders to advance disruptive and digital agricultural technology initiatives, in support of World Bank projects in client countries. Prior to joining the World Bank in 2011, Jeehye worked in both the public and the private sector in Korea and the U.K., respectively. In the private sector, she has expertise in consulting for the high-tech and telecom sectors, as well as electronic commerce and e-government. Jeehye holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Glasgow.

Andres Chamorro

Geographer and Programmer - Geospatial Operations Support Team, World Bank

Andres Chamorro is a geographer and programmer with the Geospatial Operations Support Team, where he develops geospatial solutions for projects across the institution. He has previously supported FCV initiatives in creating a sub-national dataset to study and monitor food insecurity, leveraging the Google Earth Engine platform to calculate weather anomalies and proxies for agronomic stress. He has contributed to research on statistical forecasting approaches to food crises and applied land cover classification models with remote sensing data. He holds a BA degree in Geography from Middlebury College. 

Questions Submitted


- Jul 29, 2022

jose luis

- May 16, 2021
mientras la soluciones se de acceso publico mucho mas se hacen robustas y efectivas


- May 14, 2021


- May 5, 2021
Quite interesting and informative.

Lynn Ioana

- Apr 25, 2021
very good and well done


- Feb 27, 2021

Mohammad Nadir

- Feb 17, 2021
Excellent presentation!

Joy Mildred Adhiambo

- Feb 17, 2021
NASA-Harvest Food Security and Agriculture Program - Sowing Seeds of Food Security in Africa


- Feb 16, 2021
This is a good match and a leading team of scholars.


- Feb 15, 2021
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