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India to use RS tech for accurate yield forecast

New Delhi, India: Ministry of Agriculture in India is considering providing advance and accurate forecast of farm output in the kharif season by setting up a remote sensing (RS) centre in New Delhi with the help of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The centre is likely to be operational within a month. 
“ISRO has developed basic procedures, models and software packages for crop area and production forecasting, using remote sensing and weather data. We will be engaging seven ISRO scientists who, along with our agriculture scientists, will come out with reliable information about agri output,” said agriculture secretary Prabeer Kumar Basu. 
The technology will be used for the analysis of cropping system (satellites provide valuable inputs for diversification and intensification of crops), mapping of sodic and usar soils, assessing the impact of droughts and floods, weather forecasting and monsoon prediction. 
“The prediction of monsoon is difficult even with remote sensing technology. But the assessment of drought is quite easy. Satellite data will help us in contingency planning and for drought declaration process. We will extend the use of this technology for the analysis of water index and rainfed areas,” he observed. 
The ministry is running a country-wide project, ‘Forecasting of agriculture outputs through satellite, agrometeorology and Land-based observations’ (FASAL) for forecasting major crops including wheat, rice, millet, jowar, bajra, oilseeds and sugarcane. From this year onwards, remote sensing technology will be used to forecast horticulture output as well.
Source: The Economic Times