Pakistan: The first satellite remote-sensing laboratory of the country was inaugurated at the Crop Reporting Services Centre functioning in the agriculture extension division office in Hyderabad.
Agriculture Secretary Ahmed Bakhsh Narejo inaugurated the lab established in collaboration with the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The project would be carried out in Sindh’s districts of Hyderabad, Matiari, Tando Allahyar, Tando Mohammad Khan, Badin, Sukkur, Khairpur, Ghotki, Thatta, Larkana, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Shikarpur, Dadu, Jacobabad, Naushahro Feroze and Nawabshah.
The laboratory would monitor crop, forecast and estimate the area and production of agricultural crops round the year through satellite remote sensing technology. It would ensure accuracy of agricultural data.
The initial activities would be restricted to monitoring the main cash crops such as wheat, rice, cotton and sugarcane. Its working could be enhanced in future. The crop reporting services centre laboratory would be able to issue a monthly web-based bulletin on crop situation and statistics.
Technical staff of the programme has already been trained by Suparco in Islamabad and Karachi and University of Maryland, USA, about crop reporting enhancement by using remote sensing and geographic information system. Along with crop reporting staff, three researchers from the fields of agronomy, remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) would be part of this system to run and get the required results.