GIS for effective monitoring of orchards

GIS for effective monitoring of orchards

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National Centre for Human Settlements and Environment is using GIS to effectively monitor wadis (small orchards) developed across India by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) to help poor people, especially tribals, and ensure that the real beneficiaries reap the benefits

NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) is one of the important undertakings of the government to address rural development in India, with an emphasis on inclusive growth. In pursuit of its objectives, it is developing wadis (small orchards) across the country, with the support of NGOs, to help poor people, especially tribals. NABARD is funding select villagers for preparation and management of wadis from its Tribal Development Fund.

Wadi in Gujarati language means a ‘small orchard’ covering one or two acres. The wadi may be of mango or cashew or amla (Indian gooseberry) or any fruit crop suitable to the area or a combination of these tree crops, with forest species on the periphery of the land holding.

While carrying out the projects of wadis in Madhya Pradesh, the NABARD Regional Office in Bhopal felt a need for effective monitoring of wadis in order to get control over the field activities under the programme, including managing data of the beneficiaries. To achieve it, NABARD officials had discussions with the functionaries of National Centre for Human Settlements and Environment (NCHSE), Bhopal, a premier NGO of India working since 1984.

GIS platform

Following the joint deliberations of NCHSE and NABARD, a GIS platform was chosen as it offers special features of display of ‘in-situ’ information. Various other kinds of information can be simultaneously viewed either in the form of layers or as data attachment. Another advantage of using GIS map is that geo-referencing helps in ascertaining whether an area taken under the project matches exactly with location on the ground or not.

NCHSE developed a GIS-based software for wadi monitoring for NABARD Regional Office, Madhya Pradesh in 2009-2010 on a pilot basis in two districts of Madhya Pradesh state covered by two NGOs. This proved to be a very effective software tool to monitor the progress of wadis and its real beneficiaries. It helped the NGOs in getting correct and proper reporting with respect to the wadi projects. The software provided GIS-based package to combine the field information with detailed maps of the areas against a topographical map and other standard published maps. The information from the villages and particularly from the wadis was incorporated into the GIS and together with khasra maps (the legal document that specifies land and crop details).

The development of GIS software is user-friendly with all relevant features as necessary to look at the area data on the maps, with querying and browsing facilities.

(Above) Starting or Cover page of software

(Below) Beneficiary details along with map, data and photographs

Benefits

The GIS software was found to have the following benefits:

  • It is menu driven and user friendly;
  • It has accessibility to the opening of maps in the order of state, district, block and villages with the khasra boundaries marked. The plot area of each individual (owner) under khasra boundary is represented by a polygon on khasra map carrying its own data;
  • The software enables viewing of beneficiary’s photograph at each wadi/khasra. This is also correlated with the revenue data where each khasra record is available;
  • It enables availability of the facility of data updation to record the periodic changes;
  • It facilitates analytical application based on data on maps to get results of the queries within the existing parameters.

The application of this kind of GIS-based software immensely helped NABARD officials to monitor the efficacy of wadis located in two districts. By using the block map, NABARD officials can easily notice the exact location of villages where wadis are under progress by the implementing agencies (NGOs). They found it very useful in identifying the credentials of beneficiaries on respective wadis. In fact, this application has proven as a safeguard to real beneficiaries of wadis. Most importantly, it enabled NABARD officials to get the results of query.

Looking at the utility of this monitoring software, NABARD Regional Office, Bhopal is making its use for wadis of the state. The facilitation exercise to achieve the desired result, NCHSE has been designated as central GIS processing agency by NABARD.