Remote Sensing Technology Continues to Expand in Indian Agriculture
Jun. 25, 2020
India has made notable advancements towards the utilization of remote sensing for agriculture in crop identification and mapping, area calculation, yield estimation, horticulture, crop risk evaluation, and crop protection, among others, with a strong emphasis on national expansion.
Remote sensing allows the surveillance and analysis of agricultural activities and provides relevant insights into several agronomic parameters. Remotely sensed images obtained by satellites help to assess the plant and field conditions without physical contact and allows a timely influx of field data.
Crop production forecast by remotely sensed satellite data was initiated by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in the early 1980s leading to the development of operational satellite-based systems for monitoring crop production, horticulture, and crop insurance, assisted by several government organizations and national institutes.
Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) efficiently employs satellite remote sensing for procuring information on crop statistics needed for agricultural input planning and decision-making. Remote sensing data offers many advantages over traditional approaches, primarily by timely decision-making systems, spatial analysis, and coverage, including economic benefits. Space data is utilized in many vital aspects of crop production, such as crop acreage estimate, crop yield and production estimate, crop condition, obtaining soil characteristics data, cropping system studies, experimental crop insurance, etc.
Pre-harvest crop production forecasts are done for wheat, rice, jute, mustard, cotton, sugarcane, and sorghum, based on spectral indices and weather parameters. This forecast project called “FASAL” (Forecasting Agricultural Output using Space, Agro-meteorology, and Land-based Observations) is undertaken by Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC) established in 2012. The project aims to gather monsoon data and monitor crop growth and production.
The project “KISAN” (Farmer) began in 2015 by the MNCFC for optimum crop cutting experiment (CCE) plan and enhanced yield predictions by using high-resolution remote sensing images from satellites and UAVs. CCE locations were established using several factors, such as the sowing date, NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), Biomass, and Leaf Area Index (LAI) obtained by remote sensing. Around 250 CCEs were done in the selected districts of four different states: Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. Such projects enable the farmers to make crucial decisions within the season, essentially before crop harvesting.
With this array of smart agri-tech projects deploying remote sensing, India is upgrading and expanding its agricultural ventures to monitor agricultural fields, crop health, weather conditions, pest surveillance, and overall crop production resulting in better administration of agricultural sector of the country.
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