Status Report

NASA MODIS Image of the Day: June 23, 2009 – Crop Recovery in Afghanistan

By SpaceRef Editor
June 23, 2009
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NASA MODIS Image of the Day: June 23, 2009 – Crop Recovery in Afghanistan
NASA MODIS Image of the Day: June 23, 2009 - Crop Recovery in Afghanistan


In 2008, drought struck Afghanistan and nearly destroyed the country’s winter grain crop.

Combined with trade disruptions and transport-corridor conflicts, the poor harvest caused local grain prices to skyrocket.

Authorities worried that 2009 would repeat the difficulties of 2008, and dry weather lasting from late 2008 through early 2009 increased concern. Beginning in March 2009, however, rain began to fall. Afghanistan’s rainfall and subsequent crop growth left the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service projecting a 2009-2010 wheat crop exceeding the 2008-2009 crop by 127 percent. This image shows vegetation conditions in northern Afghanistan from April 23 to May 8, 2009, measured by the MODIS on NASAs Terra satellite. Green shows where vegetation growth during that period was above the average for 2000-2008. Reddish-brown indicates below-average growth. Blue indicates water, and gray indicates no data due to snow and/or ice cover – common in the high mountains that dominate the country’s terrain. Afghanistan’s dry climate and rugged topography restrict its arable land. The country’s most important food crop – wheat – is grown mostly in the northern part of the country, at the foothills of the rugged central mountains. Agriculture throughout northern Afghanistan is primarily rainfed, and 75 percent of the wheat crop depends on rain falling at the right time. In spring 2009, rainfed wheat was more lush than average. Good growing conditions also occurred in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The beneficial rains and resulting bumper wheat harvest were expected to increase Afghanistan’s food security, according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The beneficial rains did have a downside, however. The number of Afghanistan households affected by flash floods in spring 2009 increased. Some of this flooding, however, resulted from rapid snowmelt rather than rain. You can view a high resolution image here.

SpaceRef staff editor.