PSA launches remote sensing based rice crop monitoring system

PSA launches remote sensing based rice crop monitoring system

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Philippines: The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), along with the Asian Development Bank, Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, and Japan Global Development Assistance, has launched the RCDTA 8369, a remote-sensing based data collection system on rice. The RCDTA 8369 project stands for Regional Capacity Development Technical Assistance 8369: Innovative Data Collection Methods for Agricultural and Rural Statistics.

According to Dr. Lisa S. Bersales, National Statistician, as the lead agency on national statistics, PSA’s role is to provide data for policymakers and currently for the agriculture sector. But with the high cost of conducting surveys, PSA sees the need to explore other ways of collecting data. “We consider it timely and necessary that we use appropriate technology in data collection and we are happy that we now have this satellite and remote-sensing based technology introduced through the RCDTA 8369 project. This will improve our data gathering methods on rice production, minus the high cost of field surveys,” Dr. Bersales said.

“Timely, accurate, useful and responsive data are needed for equitable national development. All of these we do for effective policy making based on accurate information. This project is a good start for PSA as it celebrates its first anniversary,” she added.

Adding to Dr Bersales’ points, Dalisay S. Maligalig, Principal Statistician of the Asian Development Bank-Philippines said ‘agencies should work together in providing timely and reliable data to policy and decision makers to come up with evidence-based policies and programs on food security’. The Philippines along with other recipients of RCDTA 8369 such as Lao PDR, Vietnam and Thailand can streamline the data collection methods in agriculture, particularly in rice production, through the use of satellite imagery.

Alternative or supplemental data support systems would be needed and one of these is through remote sensing or the use of satellite data. With funding from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and technical advice from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), PSA will implement activities under RCDTA 8369 in the Philippines such as the introduction of the JAXA software called the International Asian Harvest Monitoring System for Rice (INAHOR) to implementing agencies’ staff.”

She added that the INAHOR software will be modified as needed to suit needs and priorities through the assistance of the Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan (RESTEC). The software will be further refined and be used with satellite data from the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) in the 2015 cropping cycle.

“The modified software will be used with archived data—and later, ALOS-2 data—to compare software estimates against provincial estimates. Filed visits will be done to further calibrate the software and improve yield and other production estimates,” she said. The final modification of the software will be done based on technical documentation and inputs from implementing agencies and the ADB.

The project will be piloted in Nueva Ecija, since it is a leading rice-producing province. PSA aims to soon start the initial training program on Linux, basic remote sensing, and software installation, configuration and use of INAHOR software.

Source: Philippine Statistics Authority