Background and policy context
The MARS (Monitoring Agriculture with Remote Sensing) STAT Sector of the Agriculture and Fisheries Unit of the Joint Research Centre (DG-JRC EC) is part of the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen of the European Commission.
The need of early European figures on harvests allowed the development of the MARS-STAT activities (Meyer-Roux, Vossen, 1993). Among these, a crop yield forecasting system was put into place to supply early information to the DG-Agriculture Outlook group on the development and growth conditions of crops during the campaign.
The MARS STAT action is running in an operational context what is called the Mars Crop Yield Forecasting System (MCYFS) according to the Council/Parliament Decision 1445/2000/EC on the application of area frame survey and remote sensing techniques to the agricultural statistics for 1999 to 2003. The legal basis had a Renewal of the Decision for the period 2004-2007 (Ref. PE/CONS 3661/1/03 OJ L 309 of 26.11.2003). Research actions related to the system find currently a legal basis on the JRC multi annual working programme (FP6 2003-2006 action 1121 MARS STAT).