Mapping irrigated agriculture in Mozambique


The development of smallholder schemes will help to improve food security and reduce poverty in Mozambique. For Mozambique, it is crucial to understand and monitor irrigation practices to achieve the goals of expansion and development of smallholder farmers. Most existing estimates are either based on country-level statistics or remotely sensed data with a spatial resolution of 500m which is too low to detect small-scale irrigation practices. Higher spatial resolution data is needed in order to improve the mapping of smallholder irrigated agriculture.


With the recent introduction of new satellites, improvements in the mapping of irrigation are possible. The new satellites provide higher spectral and temporal data. The main objective of this project is to study the added value of radars on the mapping of irrigation in Mozambique, by using dense Sentinel-1 (radar) and Sentinel-2 (optical) time-series data and machine learning methods. The following topics will be addressed to better understand the mapping of irrigation: 

- The influence of the length of the time-series data on the mapping of irrigation.

- The contribution of the Sentinel-1 radar time-series data on the mapping of irrigation.

- The influence of the landscape on the contribution of Sentinel-1 radar data.


With the high spatial and temporal resolutions of the Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites, improvements on the estimates of irrigated areas can be made. These improvements will give the government of Mozambique a better overview of the usage of irrigation by their smallholder farmers. This will help them to achieve their goals of the expansion and the development of smallholder farmers.


Implemented in

Manica, Mozambique

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Contact person

Timon Weitkamp


Agriculture; Irrigation; Remote Sensing; Radar; Sentinel; Random Forest; Satellites; Time-series; Soil Moisture; Smallholder farmers