New Delhi, India
Combining remote sensing technology with water and soil conservation techniques can help raise crop yields in South Asia, scientists have reported.
Satellite data can help identify specific problems on farmlands such as moisture shortage, excessive soil wetness and flood occurrence. Using the data along with appropriate resource conserving technology (RCT) will increase productivity, a study team of researchers reported in Applied Geography.
The study team included researchers from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Manila, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, Banaras Hindu University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, and Punjab state’s department of agriculture.
Applied in the Ballia district of the state Uttar Pradesh, the method showed significant increase in annual per hectare incomes — USD 63 by raising beds in saline soils, USD 140 by introducing deep-water rice varieties and USD 147 through timely wheat planting.
“RCTs reduce cost of crop establishment, conserve natural resources and increase productivity. High-resolution remote sensing and improved classification techniques can precisely identify lands most suitable for these technologies,” said Parvesh Chandna, scientist at the IRRI and one of the authors of the study.The Rice Wheat Consortium for the Indo-Gangetic Plain, an alliance of the national agricultural research systems of Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, developed the RCTs.
The authors said that this method can help increase agricultural production in 15 million hectares of underutilised land in the Indo-Gangetic plains where productivity has decreased due to natural resource degradation.