UAE explores space technology for farming

Space agency holds talks with Japanese officials in capital

Staff Report
16:21 September 17, 2016

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Space Agency recently hosted senior Japanese officials at its Abu Dhabi headquarters for talks on applying space technology to farming.

Talks focused on applications of the latest space technologies in the agricultural sector. New technology includes satellites equipped with remote sensing technology for surveying and mapping, as well as early detection of diseases or infestations in farmland.

Remote sensing also has an application in monitoring plant growth and activity, irrigation needs and environmental conditions. Climate change and high energy costs were also discussed.

Two Japanese parliamentarians were present at the talks as well as agricultural trade officials.

“These meetings serve to strengthen the position of the UAE within the global space sector, improve related national capabilities and support a number of other business and manufacturing sectors,” said Khalifa Al Rumaithi, chairman of the UAE Space Agency.

“Satellite technology has made tremendous contributions to the development of agricultural and irrigation operations, having reduced costs and improved crop quality through more effective use of pesticides,” the chairman added.

Founded under a 2014 decree, the UAE Space Agency aims to develop the country’s space sector and create space policy and regulations.

The agency also wants to help foster a generation of engineers and scientists and direct national space programmes for the UAE.

Farming in the UAE and Japan makes up only a fraction of the country’s economy, due to the relative lack of arable land. But governments in both countries hope that cutting-edge technology will help grow more crops.