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Digital crop survey in India

Published: 25th Jan, 2023

Context

The Central Government has planned to launch a digital crop survey across 10 states from the Kharif-2023 season.

About the survey:

  • Objective:The survey will collect information on different types of crops sown by farmers in their fields.
  • The information will be collected through an automated process by using “Geo-Referenced maps” of the farmland plots and remote sensing images.
  • Implementation:
  • The digital crop surveywill be rolled out initially as a pilot project in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Gujarat. Later, it will be gradually rolled out across the country.

In the patwari agency, a complete enumeration of all fields (survey numbers) called ‘girdawari’ is made of a village during each crop season to compile land use, irrigation and crop area statistics.

  • Once it becomes fully operational, it will add to the age-old crop area statistics collection system, which is known as the ‘Patwari agency’.

Key features:

  • The proposed survey will use the latest technological advancementssuch as visual and advanced analytics, GIS-GPS Technologies and AI/ML to provide near real-time information about the crops sown by the farmers.
  • As part of the digital agriculture initiatives, the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare plans to develop a reference application for the crop-sown survey.
  • Data used: Satellite data from National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC),which comes under the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has already been made available to the states.
  • Crop registry: The crop registry will act as a single source of truth for collecting the data in a standardized manner, during the digital crop survey.
  • The crop registry will have the ability to capture single or multiple crop IDs for the same farmland plot for the same season, along with the respective area of sowing and type of crops, such as intercrop, mixed crops, and single crops.
  • It will add linkage to Global Positioning Systems (GPS)and Geo-referenced Cadastral maps would enable users to reach the right farm and collect the right data and images.
  • The linkage to remote sensing and aerial imageanalysis tools can be used to cross-check data at a larger area level with the reported and derived information from the field level for enabling higher accuracy levels.
  • The survey will also have a mobile interfacethat will allow offline data capturing in the field (farmland plot) where the crop is sown.

Initiatives for farmers:

  • Improving Productivity: Due to stagnancy in the quantum of agricultural land, it is imperative to increase productivity over the same amount of land.
    • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) provides for more crops, per drop.
    • The Soil Health Card scheme aims at promoting soil test-based and balanced use of fertilisers to enable farmers to realise higher yields at a lower cost.
  • Improving Total Factor Productivity: TFP is an important source of output growth which directly contributes to cost saving and thus increases income. TFP growth represents the effect of technological change, skill, infrastructure etc.
    • National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) aims to form a unified national market for agricultural products by making a network for the markets related to the existing Agricultural Product Marketing Committee (APMC).
    • Direct Benefit Transfer: The NITI Aayog has suggested that all subsidies for agriculture, including fertiliser, electricity, crop insurance, irrigation and interest subvention be replaced by income transfer because it eliminates the leakages of resources in the system.
  • Diversification of Crops: When farmers go for a single crop type they are exposed to high risks in the event of unforeseen climate events, such as the emergence of pests and the sudden onset of frost or drought.
    • Crop Diversification Programme (CDP) is being implemented which aims to diversify the area from water-guzzling crops like paddy to alternate crops like maize, pulses, oilseeds, and cotton & agro-forestry plantation.
  • Financial Assistance: There are several initiatives taken up by the government:
    • The Union Budget 2019-20 has made the highest-ever allocation to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Rs. 1, 30,485 crores, a 140 per cent jump over the ’18-19 budget estimate of Rs 57,600 crore.
    • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna has been launched to provide relief to the farmers inflicted by the loss of crop damage.
    • Kisan Credit Card Scheme aims to provide direct benefits to farmers and ease the pressure on them.
    • Micro Irrigation Fund created with NABARD has been approved for encouraging public and private investments.
    • Implementation of Swaminathan Report- Recently, the Government has increased the MSP for all Kharif and Rabi crops and other commercial crops for the season 2018-19 with a return of at least 50 per cent over the cost of production.
    • The Government has decided to implement a new Central Sector Scheme for providing an old age pension of Rs.3000/- to eligible small and marginal farmers as they have minimal or no savings.
    • PM KISAN - This central sector scheme aims to supplement the financial needs of the SMFs in procuring various inputs to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, commensurate with the anticipated farm income at the end of each crop cycle.
  • Other Initiatives:
    • The Government has been promoting organic farming in the country through the schemes such as Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
    • Coffee Board has launched a block-chain based coffee e-marketplace. It will help integrate the farmers with markets in a transparent manner.
    • NITI Aayog launched 2016 an index to rank States and UTs based on the implementation of seven provisions proposed under the model APMC Act.
    • The Mega Food Parks scheme aims to create a mechanism of linking agricultural production to the markets, by involving farmers, processors and retailers together in a cluster-based approach.
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