STARS Project
STARS Project

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STARS Project
10.25.2016 - 10.28.2016

ARF workshop in Benin on enhancing research impact for food security

In parallel to the AARSE conference in Kampala, the Dutch funding organization NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development organized an applied research fund (ARF) workshop in Cotonou (Benin; 25-28 October 2016) together with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP), the Beninese University of Abomey-Calavi and AgriProFocus Benin.

STARS was represented in this workshop by Raul Zurita-Milla of the University of Twente, Faculty of ITC and Shahid Akbar of the Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID) who, together with Urs Schulthess of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), are working on an ARF project that is developing a smartphone app that will allow farmers to estimate ground cover. The idea of this proposal is to support irrigation in the southern delta of Bangladesh, where large tracks of land are left fallow in winter.

Figure 1. Irrigated land

Presently, ITC is processing thousands of pictures taken by CIMMYT to train a model that can predict ground cover from regular RGB photos. Several machine learning methods such as support vector regression and deep learning are being tested. Results look quite promising so BIID is thinking how to connect the ground cover app to the irrigation advisory system developed for the STARS project.

Figure 2. Estimation of ground cover with a classified RGB photo.

For more information about the ground cover app, please see:

For more information about the workshop and other ARF projects please visit:

For more information about the irrigation advisory service developed for the STARS project please visit the following website and download one of the presentations that are listed under 'Presentations by Bangladesh team (CIMMYT)':