Thursday, September 25, 2008

Satellite-monitoring system for crops for Pakistan?

To avoid massive losses due to climate change and other natural calamities, the federal government has decided to arrange satellite-monitoring system for major cash crops of the country.

In this regard a project, ‘Monitoring of crops through satellite technology’, with a total cost of Rs 165.739 million is planned. This will help in collectiong, analysing and presenting accurate and timely crops data for estimating area of crops and forecasting crop yields. This is a continuation of Phase-I project implemented during 2005-06 to 2007-08 with a total cost of Rs 111 million covering 61 districts in four provinces of the country.

The crops include cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane and maize for their area, yield and production estimations. For transfer of technology, local and expatriate training programmes were arranged by SUPARCO.

An official of the planning commission told Daily Times here on Wednesday that an evaluation committee of the commission discussed Phase-I project few days ago and discussed in detail the scope of work and past achievements. The committee agreed on continuation of activities in Phase-II of the project and would focus on the following areas.

Increased Role for Provinces: Five training laboratories at crop reporting service Centers (Lahore, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Quetta and Muzaffarabad) will be established. These labs will provide a basis for training/breeding manpower base with number of 420 trainees. Stakeholders will be involved in ground surveys, transferring of technology and crop yield modeling.

Linkages with FAO, UN and other sources: SUPARCO had benefited in transfer of technology from FAO and Spot Image, France. Cooperation for transfer of technology with these sources will continue in Phase-II. Basic objective of the Phase-I was monitoring of crops using remote sensing/GIS/crop agronomy, ground information and simultaneous transfer of technology. The objectives of the Phase-II project are to further refine technology development, field-testing on large scale and assign increased role for Provincial Crop Reporting Services (PCRS).

Under this scheme, SUPARCO has to continue the monitoring of crops and further improve GIS based area frame and sample design. It would also help in improving and upgrading laboratory and field techniques for crop sector and improving crop estimation techniques.

Under this project, the government will develop and apply crop yield estimation models using multiple regression regimes based on the variable of agro-meteorology, remote sensing, farm inputs and other important factors of production.



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