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CropsMonitor Team

Barry Watkins

Barry joined CropsMonitor in 2022 and is currently our leading developer. Barry has had an interest in geography and IT from an early age. This led him to pursue a BSc degree in Geoinformatics at Stellenbosch University. His time at university exposed him to the many real-world applications of GIS and Remote Sensing, in particular the use of remote sensing in agriculture. Both his Honours and Masters thesis involved the use of remote sensing in crop mapping with a specific focus on agricultural field boundary delineation in his MSc. His research and skills consequently align perfectly with the activities of CropsMonitor.  

Gulu Bekker

Gulu grew up on a farm near Cradock in the Eastern Cape (South Africa). This childhood experience instilled in him a love for the land, and – on a more practical level – taught him how to run a profitable farm. His interest in sustainable farming practices inspired him to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Ecology at Stellenbosch University (SU), after which he obtained a master’s degree in Environmental Management at the SU’s School of Public Leadership. He started his career as an Environmental Practitioner, which involved doing many Environmental Impact Assessments for agricultural developments. This practical experience sparked an interest in integrated pest management (IPM). He consequently returned to academia to investigate the spatial distribution patterns of deciduous fruit pests in the Western Cape (South Africa), making use of geographic information system (GIS), remote sensing and machine learning technologies. The main aim of his research was to generate pest infestation risk maps on a variety of scales, which can guide decision-making relating to the application of control measures. He completed his PhD in Entomology in 2018 and was appointed as the chief executive officer (CEO) of CropsMonitor in April 2019. In 2022 he stepped down as CEO and now plays a part-time advisory role. 

Adriaan van Niekerk

Adriaan has more than 20 year's experience in the development of geospatial technologies for agricultural applications. He earned a PhD from SU in 2008, thanks to his research on the development of a web-based GIS, called CLUES (Cape Land Use Evaluation System), for assessing the suitability of agricultural land for crop production. Since then his focus has been on the use of satellite imagery for monitoring the condition of crops, which led to the establishment of CropsMonitor. As a full-time academic, he is exposed to the latest research in remote sensing and precision agriculture, which is frequently incorporated into the CropsMonitor products and services.  

CropsMonitor Team