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Estimating millet production for famine early warning: An application of crop simulation modelling using satellite and ground-based data in Burkina Faso

Estimating millet production for famine early warning: An application of crop simulation modelling using satellite and ground-based data in Burkina Faso

Agricultural & Forest Meteorology 83(1-2): 95-112

Early warning of impending poor crop harvests in highly variable environments can allow policy makers the time they need to take appropriate action to ameliorate the effects of regional food shortages on vulnerable rural and urban populations. Crop production estimates for the current season can be obtained using crop simulation models and remotely sensed estimates of rainfall in real time, embedded in a geographic information system that allows simple analysis of simulation results. A prototype yield estimation system was developed for the thirty provinces of Burkina Faso. It is based on CERES-Millet, a crop simulation model of the growth and development of millet (Pennisetum spp.). The prototype was used to estimate millet production in contrasting seasons and to derive production anomaly estimates for the 1986 season. Provincial yields simulated halfway through the growing season were generally within 15% of their final (end-of-season) values. Although more work is required to produce an operational early warning system of reasonable credibility, the methodology has considerable potential for providing timely estimates of regional production of the major food crops in countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

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Accession: 008624767

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DOI: 10.1016/s0168-1923(96)02348-9

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