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Satellite-based sugarcane estimation in India

India: For the first time, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), along with the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF), invited proposals from geospatial companies for satellite-based estimation of sugarcane acreage and yield, Business Standard reported. The process will start for the standing sugarcane crop which will be crushed in the new season beginning October. The two apex sugar bodies will do this every year from now.

In the past, the government output estimates had shown high divergence from the actual output, thereby affected the industry’s profitability. “We are trying to supplement the current estimation system with satellite-based assessment of the sugarcane acreage. This will help the industry to know production data and request the government to take timely policy decisions. All the member mills have agreed to cooperate in the process,” said Abinash Verma, Director General, ISMA.

Both the apex sugar industry associations have decided to develop a model which is technologically viable for any kind of ground estimation on the sugarcane acreage and yield estimates. The associations will also in future explore the possibility of selling the database to trading houses and international agencies.

At present, the union agriculture ministry and food ministry compile data on sugarcane production. However, none of the two is backed by technology. While the agriculture ministry relies on data from state agriculture departments, the food ministry depends on feedback from state sugarcane commissioners. However, at times there is a striking disparity in estimates of both the ministries as well.

Source: Business Standard