21 Nov 2014 A three-day advanced training on remote sensing (RS) techniques ended on 7 November 2014. Participants learned about specific remote sensing techniques applicable to crop monitoring and drought early warning system. About 30 agricultural development practitioners from government and non-governmental agencies, including the Ministry of Agricultural Development, World Food Programme, Department of Irrigation, and the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology of Nepal attended the training. In his opening remarks, Dr Eklabya Sharma, ICIMOD’s Director of Operations, highlighted the need to consider other social and ecological factors such as the cropping system in the region, crops’ habitual changes, changes in rainfall pattern, and population growth while studying crop monitoring system. He said, “Taking these factors into account and validating ground findings with remote sensing knowledge will yield stronger evidence for your research work.” Birendra Bajracharya, MENRIS Regional Programme Manager, talked about the SERVIR initiative’s focus on using earth observation for agriculture-related applications. The training was organized by ICIMOD under the framework of SERVIR- Himalaya, a programme supported by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with an overarching goal to improve environmental management and resilience to climate change. The training is part of the collaborative effort between ICIMOD and the Ministry of Agricultural Development of Nepal to develop an operational agriculture monitoring system through conjunctive use of geospatial data, science and ground based information. Agricultural development practitioners from governmental and non-governmental agencies attend a training on specialized techniques related to crop monitoring and drought assessment As most of the participants were familiar with GIS and remote sensing, the training focused on specialized techniques related to crop monitoring and drought assessment. They learned how to interpret satellite images, calculate image indices, and map crop type using satellite data so as to help end users make evidence-based decisions. The training also included visualizing and interpreting time series data which can detect abnormalities in crop growths. Indira Kadel, Senior Divisional Meteorologist with the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, said, “These satellite images will help me carry out weather analysis using GIS. These tools are equally useful for preparing agro-advisory.” Dibas Raj Bista from the Ministry of Agricultural Development said that he gained insight into how MODIS satellite images made available by NASA can be effectively used for agriculture monitoring. “It would be very fruitful if we could receive a follow-up training on this subject with intensive theoretical and practical components,” he said.