Food Security

CropText Short Message Service (SMS) Application 

The Food Security project now offers a Short Message Service to collect data from farmers around the world who might not have access to smartphones.  The SMS is simple, easy to use, and only requires texting capabilities.  Anyone may text message (248)-648-3765 (standard message and data rates may apply), and their data will be recorded.  Please text message a short code for your location (i.e. AAMI might equal Ann Arbor, Michigan) followed by your rain estimates, and finally followed by your greenness estimates.  All of these must be separated by commas, and commas must not be a part of your data.  So for example, if a user from Ann Arbor, Michigan estimates rain to be 2.5 mm and the greenness to be medium, and sends in a text message with aami,2.5mm,medium then that data will be recorded in our database.  A user will know their data has been entered in the database if a response message is sent with the following text: 

"Thanks for sending your data!  Your entry has been added to the database."



If the data is sent in with improper formatting, the data will not be recorded in the database and a message will be sent back with the following text:

"Send your data in with your location first, then your rain estimates, followed by your greenness estimates, and have them separated by commas!  Your entry was not added to the database."

Anyone may view the contents of the database here:

The database will be updated daily, so your message may not show up immediately.  Users may send in as many text messages as they like although standard message and data rates may apply.

Food Security Android Application

The Food Security project has also developed an Android application that will allow farmers all around the world to easily record their crop data using an Android smartphone.  To install the application on your phone, download the app-debug.apk file to your smart phone (click to download app).  Next, make sure that the "Unknown Software Devices" is enabled in the device settings.  Finally, using a file browser (We recommend "ES File Explorer"), find your downloaded app-debug.apk.  Then, using a package installer, click on the app-debug.apk to install the application.  Refer to the User’s Manual for how to use the application.

Field Picture

Soil and Crop Conditions via Smart Phone Apps:

Project Description

This NASA Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science Project aims to produce science-based data on crop conditions and agricultural index insurance in sub-Saharan Africa. At the end of this project, we will have 30 years of crop condition data - going back to 1990 that will be inputs in actuary tables. Additionally, we are producing field collection smart phone apps for Droid and iOS capable to be used in the current mobile phone network of sub-Saharan Africa. These apps will be distributed freely to in-country collaborators and the larger scientific community. FS_Land

Below is a Summary of Data and Analysis for Index Insurance Project


A multi-scale evapotranspiration model developed by the USDA and NOAA for sub-Saharan Africa.


Field Testing Results

The FormEntry app was tested in Tigray, Ethiopis in Auguat 2014. IRI staff meber collected soil and crop condition information in 12 different villages and emailed the completed forms (csv files) when they had wifi access again. All field data will be stored locally and uploaded to Google Fusion Tables, where it will be analyzed and shared with collaborators. test


For Additional Information

Amanda Grimm
Research Scientist


MTRI reconstucted the USDA agriculture field conditon criteria and evaluation methods (data currently used to validate the U.S. evaportranspiration model) to an iOS FormEntry app.



This work is finded by a NASA IDS Award under NASA Contract #NNX14AD63G. We thank MTRI research intern Dante Mann and IRI Field Research Bristol Mann for assisting in this project.