At last, some good news for the farmers of India. The Central Government launched its flagship Kisan Project on 5 October to help farmers in the long run. KISAN stands for (K)rop Insurance using Space technology And geoiNformatics. Combining the forces of digital world with the age old tradition of agriculture, the government is all set to make the lives of farmers more secure and comfortable. The project uses satellite and drone-based imaging and other geospatial technology to get accurate data on crop yields.
The programme envisages use of high resolution remote sensing data from satellite and drone-based imaging, sophisticated modelling activity and other geospatial technology for improving the accuracy of crop yield estimation through more efficient crop cutting experiments.
• The KISAN project will be implemented by Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC) in collaboration with ISRO Centres – Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad & National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad; India Meteorological Department; CCAFS; state agriculture departments and state remote sensing centres.
• A pilot study is already underway in rice and cotton fields of the ongoing kharif season in four districts. These districts include Kurukshetra (Haryana), Shimoga (Karnataka), Yavatmal (Maharastra) and Seoni (Madhya Pradesh).
• The Government also plans to carry out the study in eight districts of the same states for the rabi season to assess the yields of rice wheat and sorghum.
• According to the Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, the project will eventually cover the entire country once the pilot study results are assessed.
• Block level yield estimation and development of a new index-based insurance approach is also being planned under this project.
Android App to collect hailstorm data
The Central Government, with the help of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has also developed an Android App to collect hailstorm data. The maximum amount of damage caused to standing crops is because of hailstorms. However, till now, there has been no comprehensive method to collect data. This App will change the scenario by making it simpler to assess the situation of crop damage due to hailstorm in the following ways:
• Photographs of the location of the hailstorm can be uploaded through this app to the ISRO’s Bhuvan server.
• The application will collect data about hailstorms in real time along with photographs and geographical coordinates.
• The pictures of the subsequent damage can also be immediately sent.
• The data can then be collected by state agricultural department officials using this application.
• This will allow the Central Government to survey crop loss quickly and more objectively.
• Speedy assessment will benefit the farmers with accelerated settlement of insurance claims.
Benefits for farmers
Crop Insurance is usually calculated on the basis of crop cutting experiments. Waiting for the crop cutting often leads to delay in settlements. The project will address this concern and speed up payment of crop insurance claims to farmers. The project will also provide an accurate assessment of crop damage.
Farmers in India have been suffering for quite some time with no respite in the suicide rate due to gross poverty and lack of resources to settle debts. The KISAN project as well as the Android App to collect hailstorm data, if successful, will surely come as a respite for the farmers in India.