MAIZE YIELD ESTIMATION IN KENYA USING MODIS
Monitoring staple crop production can support agricultural research, business such as crop insurance, and government policy. Obtaining accurate estimates through field work is very expensive, and estimating it through remote sensing is promising. We estimated county-level maize yield for the 37 maize producing countries in Kenya from 2010 to 2017 using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data. Support Vector Regression (SVR) and Random Forest (RF) were used to fit models with observed county level maize yield as a function of vegetation indices. The following five MODIS vegetation indices were used: green normalized difference vegetation index, normalized difference vegetation index, normalized difference moisture index, gross primary production, and fraction of photosynthetically active radiation. The models were evaluated with 5-fold leave one year out cross-validation. For SVR, R2 was 0.70, the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) was 0.50 MT/ha and Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) was 27.6%. On the other hand for RF these were 0.69, 0.51 MT/ha and 29.3% respectively. These results are promising and should be tested in specific applications to understand if they are good enough for use.