A workshop was conducted in a region of Uganda to explore productivity differences between and within households in order to identify their causes and their effects on food security and the sustainability of cropping systems. The approach used combined tools and information derived from socio-economic sciences, natural sciences and remote sensing technology. The potential of this approach to link investigations on different geographical scales was evaluated. Representatives of socio-economic and natural science disciplines and working within research, agricultural extension services and village development were invited to the workshop, which included two phases: an on-campus phase at Makerere University, Kampala, where the approach was developed, and a field phase in the Mbale sub-region, where it was tested. The field work included interviews, field observations and collection of aerial images. A post-workshop section included further data processing to link the high-resolution imagery with satellite imagery and an evaluation of the approach.
The preliminary results showed that the spatial resolution of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is sufficient for our research needs, including possibilities to visually distinguish individual crops. The equipment needs some adaptation to create a truly robust system, but the technology for this is available. It proved possible to derive normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) data from the UAS tested here, but more work is needed to link NDVI between different sensors. The flyovers and interviews were positively received in the villages. The conclusion from the workshop was thus that the suggested remote sensing framework is feasible and could soon become operational.