ADASCIS - Earth Observation to support Agricultural Damages Assessment System in Crop Insurance Schemes

Context and objectives

In the near future European farmers will face increasing instability of their incomes. Farmers will be more and more exposed to risks related to prices and to climate change. Today, the progressive diminution in agricultural subsidies and the suppression of guaranteed prices expose the European agriculture to the evolution of the world market prices. As a result of climate change, climatic risks tend to increase with the multiplication of extreme climatic events (droughts, heat strokes, violent rains, storms), inducing greater yield variations. Farms specialization intensifies their sensitivity to climatic risks and reinforces the need for improving revenue protection mechanisms. In this context, a better natural risk management is needed, because combined with price risks, significant income risks are generated.

A recent regulation of the European Commission (1857/2006) makes it possible for Member States to compensate farmers for losses caused by adverse meteorological conditions which can be assimilated to natural disasters. However, from 1 January 2010, compensation offered must be reduced by 50% unless it is given to farmers who have taken out insurance covering at least 50% of their average annual production or production-related income and the statistically most frequent climatic risks in the Member State or region concerned.

In Belgium, Agriculture is a competence of the Flemish and Walloon Regions, while the Agricultural Calamity Fund, which is responsible for the treatment of damage claims in case of agricultural disasters, is currently still managed by the Federal Public Service of Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy.


The ADASCIS project aimed at developing a user-defined information system for agricultural damage and risk assessment based on remote sensing and agrometeorological modelling in support of the management of the Disaster Fund. In the broader context of agricultural insurances, the system could be used by the Flemish and Walloon authorities, the farmers organizations and the insurance sector to develop agricultural insurance products.

Project outcome

1) A set of indicators for crop damage and risk assessment based on reliable and independent remote sensing, meteorological and agrometeorological data.

2) A prototype of a semi-operational crop damage and risk information service with a web based user interface (ADASCIS Web tool).

3) Positive user feedback:

- For the Calamity Fund, the ADASCIS Webtool provides information for the identification of calamity areas. The ADASCIS Web tool has been used to assess the extend and the intensity of drought during the 2011 crop growing season

- For the national of regional agricultural administrations, the ADASCIS Web tool provides information for crop monitoring.

- For the insurance sector, through provision of data and information on damage and risk, the ADASCIS Web tool may help to create new insurance products

4) For the scientific partners, the ADASCIS Web tool and the improved version of B-CGMS facilitate the preparation of the Belgian Agrometeorological Bulletin. Expertise is gained on the use of EO, meteo and agrometeo indices and on the combination of these indices for crop damage and risk assessment.