The importance of science and technology has not been ignored by the agriculture and farms. Uptill now, the private sector was funding and supporting the involvement of space technology and satellite imagery at the farms but now the government’s focus is tapping satellite imagery technologies to upgrade the yield estimation and acreage measurement exercise.
The Centre is working on a combination of traditional and modern technology like satellite imagery for crop acreage and yield estimation to build up a much more sophisticated analysis and ensure accurate agriculture forecasts.
Wide variations are noticed between preliminary reports and final estimates. The discrepancies in this divide ends up leaving a negative impact on the prices of the agricultural produce. If proper estimation and generalization of the market and production can be done, proper prices and market regulations can follow the market.
“If we can combine traditional technology of acreage, yield estimation with satellite imagery which is possible through a small hand-held device in which when acreage is recorded and crop cutting experiments are done it will be possible for you to not only get the estimates which they were traditionally recording but also the geospatial coordinates on which this experiment was done, this is one work which is now in progress,” said Prof. T.C.A. Anant, secretary, Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM conference on Geospatial Technologies in India.
“It is (now) a question of working with all the state officials and the huge administrative machinery in the districts to adopt it. That work is going on,” he said, speaking at a conference on geospatial technologies hosted by Assocham.
The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) is working along with The statistics and programme implementation ministry to deploy geospatial technology for sample surveys, beginning with urban areas.
The Urban Frame Survey will soon be completed and provide up-to-date maps of urban areas, which, the Chief Statistician said, could be used for sampling purposes with necessary location indicators.
“… To modernise our system of developing urban sample frames, we would be combining the satellite image of urban areas with ground-mapping of the satellite image to permit you to develop an urban frame,” said Mr. Anant.
“The advantage of this is that it is updated much more frequently than any physical ground survey system could have done,” he added.
Informing that work on Urban Frame Survey (UFS) will soon be completed, Prof. Anant said, “Once this is complete, we will have up-to-date maps of urban areas which can be used for sampling purposes with necessary location indicators and so on more rapidly.”
He further mentioned that similar exercises are possible in many areas. “Though the possibility has been laid out but the challenge for us is to actually make it possible by integrating technology like satellite imagery across a wide range of government activities.”
While much of the data is there in different websites, the government is trying to make sure that they are made available in a standardised manner.
Work is also undergoing with all the ministries and ISRO etc. to ensure that for a whole bunch of major development indicators to be made available to the public in a single harmonized portal which can allow people to see things conveniently.
“The government’s objective is to ensure last mile development which ensures that no one is left behind, and people can verify that what the agencies are saying is actually visible on the ground, all of this is possible with the use of geospatial technologies,” he added.