Copernicus: the project that will lead Agricultural Policy into the space era
To use detailed and real-time data on crops from space satellites, in order to streamline and modernize the European Common Agricultural Policy.
This is why the collaboration within the European Space Agency Sen4CAP-Sentinels for Common Agriculture Policy pilot project has been strengthened.
Coordinated by the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, the new Sen4CAP project directly involves Italy as one of the countries that will test a new approach to crop monitoring, along with Czech Republic, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain.
Italy is a member of the Consortium with e-GEOS: a joint venture between Telespazio and the Italian Space Agency, among the most important industrial partners of the Copernicus European programme for Earth’s satellite observation and global leader in environment and sea monitoring.
The initiative will bring benefits to approximately 22 million farmers, by making available data obtained by the Copernicus programme and other systems of Earth’s observation to replace field visits and streamline bureaucracy associated with payments due by the European Union to farmers.
Therefore, the satellites of the Copernicus constellation are ready to lead CAP into the space era: the European policy launched in 1962 with the objectives to provide affordable food for European citizens and a fair standard of living for farmers. These historical objectives are now accompanied by strong attention to sustainability, environmental protection, biodiversity and climate.
To support the European Common Agricultural Policy, Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 will be used: the Copernicus programme missions that collect complementary data on the status of crops.
For example, the pair of Sentinel-1 radar satellites will have the task to send data concerning biomass and record when products from a specific area are harvested. Satellites make the latest information immediately available, since they pass across Europe at least once every two days.
On the other hand, Sentinel-2 satellites carry high-resolution cameras and the images they provide can be used to distinguish between different crops, to assess crop health and to monitor land use change. Also in this case, there is a strict time “coverage” of approximately 3 to 4 days.