Focusing on crop production, agricultural activities and rural development, the MARS Unit provides timely forecasts, early assessments and the scientific underpinning for efficient monitoring and control systems. The work serves the Agriculture and Food policies of the European Union, their impact on rural economies and on the environment, encompassing the global issues of food security and climate change.
The MARS project, started in 1988, was initially designed to apply emerging space technologies for providing independent and timely information on crop areas and yields. Since 1993, the team has contributed towards a more effective and efficient management of the Common Agricultural Policy through the provision of a broader range of technical support services to DG Agriculture and Member-State Administrations. Since 2000, the expertise in crop yields has been applied outside the EU. Services have been developed to support EU aid and assistance policies and provide building blocks for a European capability for global agricultural monitoring and food security assessment.
Today, the Monitoring Agricultural Resources (MARS) Unit is made up of four Actions: GeoCAP, AGRI-ENV, AGRI4CAST, and FOODSEC.