ESA title


  • ACTIVITYDemonstration Project
  • STATUSOngoing
  • THEMATIC AREAFood & Agriculture

Objectives of the service

Our service supports both sugarcane estates and smallholder farmers in improving yields and reducing resource waste. Farmers often struggle to increase productivity and income, with sugarcane yields typically at only 40% of their potential. Estates aim to better manage all fields and allocate limited resources effectively.

We provide relevant and timely information, allowing farmers and estates to make informed decisions. Using remote sensing and machine learning, we send farmers SMS messages with multi-purpose advice on crop management to boost productivity and yields. For estates, we offer weekly overview maps in phone-friendly PDF formats, showing growth and heterogeneity to help monitor and predict growth and prioritise actions for different field areas.

Our solution stands out by delivering complex information in a straightforward manner, promoting sustainable agriculture. We help clients prioritise actions and give everyone in the field access to up-to-date status information. Our service includes push messages and email reports, utilising satellite and ground-truthing data we collect, eliminating the need for manual data entry.

SmartCane has already proven successful in a pilot project in Chemba, where near real-time advice led to earlier weeding, more targeted monitoring, and better sprinkler placement.

Users and their needs

At SmartCane, we focus on two main customer groups within the sugarcane industry: farmers in outgrower cooperatives and estates that manage cane production and milling operations. Our solution targets outgrower schemes operating on 2000 hectares or more.

Farmers are central to our service, engaging in both subsistence and commercial farming activities. Many lack access to agronomic knowledge and support, hindering their ability to increase production and improve livelihoods. SmartCane addresses this by providing digital extension services and remote sensing data in a clear and accessible format.

Estate owners, on the other hand, oversee large-scale sugarcane production with investments geared towards export. They typically own cane mills and production land while also sourcing cane from local farmers. Our solution aids estate field technicians in managing production effectively.

Additionally, we prioritise gender responsiveness, acknowledging the significant role of women in agriculture. We design our products and services to reduce barriers and ensure equitable access to resources for all genders.

Service/ system concept

SmartCane is an innovative solution that blends advanced remote sensing technology with hybrid digital-physical extension services to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and commercial sugarcane producers. Developed by Resilience BV and supported locally in Mozambique, our service is designed to be accessible and easy to use.

With SmartCane, farmers receive up-to-date agricultural practices and crop stress identification via SMS directly to their mobile phones. This real-time information empowers farmers to make informed decisions and improve their crop yields. For commercial sugarcane organisations, automated remote sensing maps delivered via email provide estate-wide crop stress identification and growth monitoring. These reports enable organisations to manage their fields effectively and forecast yields to maintain production efficiency.

Space Added Value

SmartCane is a remote sensing and G.I.S. based agriculture management tool that uses space assets to provide valuable information to farmers and commercial sugarcane producing organizations. The system uses satellite data from Sentinel 1 and 2, which offer higher resolution (20 & 10-meter resolution) compared to other platforms like Landsat or MODIS, and Planet (3- and 0.5-meter resolution) to monitor crop stress, weeding, drought, and growth of sugarcane. In addition, it uses G.P.S. on mobile devices to delineate fields, collect reference data, and train machine learning models. The analysed data is translated into a heterogeneity index, cane growth monitoring, weeding index, yield prediction, and field anomaly classification. The system provides farmers with relevant agricultural practices and alerts via SMS and commercial sugarcane companies with estate-wide crop stress identification, weeding alerts, irrigation support, and growth monitoring, allowing them to monitor and manage their fields more effectively. The combination of high-resolution data and G.I.S. expertise provides a more precise and efficient solution compared to current methods.

Current Status

SmartCane has successfully completed its kick-start phase and has been advised to continue with a demonstration project. The outcome of the kick-start was a working prototype that has already attracted paying customers, including estates and cooperative outgrowers. Over the next year, the project will focus on expanding its serviced area and servicing more clients. Additionally, the project will focus on improving its service delivery and information feedback loops. The goal is to provide the latest agricultural practices, crop stress identification, and growth monitoring directly to farmers and commercial sugarcane producing companies, allowing them to monitor their fields and estimate yields more accurately.

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 28 July 2021