In a recently published article, the JRC presents its Control with Remote Sensing (CwRS) programme, which supports the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and especially the management and control by Member State administrations of direct aids to EU farmers.
These direct aids represent around 40 billion euros per year for some 8 million farmers. High and very-high resolution satellite imagery (HR and VHR) are used to check farmers’ declarations, and increasingly to verify the compliance of their farming practices with agri-environmental rules. The article focuses on the outsourcing of the JRC’s CwRS programme, mainly the provision of VHR imagery, to industry operators in 2014.
Under the quality control of the JRC, the image providers now manage the supply of HR or VHR imagery from numerous satellites according to the Member States (MS) requirements and area of interest. They liaise directly with the MS and deliver the requested imagery to them within given timeframes. Aside from the image acquisition, all of these tasks were previously performed by the JRC. The image suppliers are also now in charge of operating and further developing the JRC web application G-LIO.NET, which handles the communication between MS or their contractors, the JRC and the image suppliers.
This new method of operations, as observed during the first 2014 crop season, has already proved to be beneficial to all parties. Delivery times of the imagery have been improved, and it is now possible for the MS to use the satellite that best fits their parameters according to their particular farming practices and the location of their areas of interest.
This outsourcing follows the normal lifecycle of an EU programme, in which the JRC conceives of the method, tests it, provides early operational tasks and, once it is fully functioning, sub-contracts it. As a result, the JRC can now further concentrate on the development of methodology to be used for the CAP using new technologies, and on quality checking the contractors’ work and the MS’ usage of imagery.