AMESD sets up Satellite Receiving Station in BCA

African Union A Satellite Receiving Station is installed in the Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) through the framework of African Monitoring of Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD). The Satellite Receiving Station was officially launched by the Acting Principal of the BCA, Mr Ditshoke L. Monametsi, at a ceremony held in 15 July 2010 in Sebele, Botswana. The ceremony was attended by the Director of Botswana Department of Meteorological Services, Mr Phetolo Phage, Dean of Faculty of Agriculture at BCA, Prof. Elemino B. Khonga, SADC-THEMA Project Leader, Mr. Isaac Kusane, and by participants of the SADC-THEMA Kick-Off workshop which was held at the University of Botswana from 13-15 July, 2010.

Mr D. L. Monametsi, (Acting Principal of BCA) cuts the ribbon to mark the official launch of the BCA Satellite Receiving Station as Mr Phetolo Phage (Director of DMS) looks on

In his inauguration speech, Mr. Monametsi noted that the overall objective of the AMESD project in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region was to sustainably empower the member states to manage their agricultural and environmental resources.

BCA in particular and Botswana in general derive multiple benefits from the access to space technologies. Firstly, the satellite receiving station at BCA will be used for informing the Ministry of Agriculture on crop and graze land conditions in Botswana, which will enable the government to make well-informed decisions.

Secondly, the Station will also be used for didactic purposes at BCA. GIS and Remote Sensing courses are already integrated in the curriculum of various study programmes at BCA. The new AMESD Receiving Station will give the students and teachers access to a wide range of available and real-time datasets that can be used for both educational and research purposes.

The students of BCA will use the SADC-THEMA services in (i) Crop Monitoring that will monitor the state of the crops during the agricultural season. (ii) Fire Monitoring that will provide a daily fire risk indication (before the fire), continuous active fire maps (in real time during the fire season, refreshed every 15 minutes) and monthly burnt area assessments (after the fire), and (iii) Drought Monitoring Service that will monitor drought and produce “Drought Outlooks”.

The Ministry is in its turn interested in the graduated students with good Earth Observation knowledge, which will roll out of the programme in a few years.

The AMESD project is funded by the European Union (EU) coordinated by the African Union Commission (AUC).

Moreover, pictures of the launch can be found in the press release.

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