National Crop Forecast Centre to make maiden forecast from kharif season

Sharad Pawar, minister of agriculture and food processing industries, today inaugurated the National Crop Forecast Centre in New Delhi today.

The NCFC, named after statistician P C Mahalanobis, has been set up in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)  and will be responsible for multiple in-season crop forecast and assessment of drought situation using state of the art techniques and methodology for selected major crops.

The centre has all the facilities required for remote sensing based agricultural forecasting, including a sophisticated laboratory with high-end workstations, image processing and GSI software, large format scanner, plotter and printers and GPS systems.

With technical support from Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad, and National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad, NCFC will start providing crops forecasts and drought assessments from this kharif season (2012-13). It has already initiated activities for jute crop assessment using microwave remote sensing data.

According toa government statement, the objectives and functions of the NCFC are:

  • Multiple forecasts of 11 major crops - rice (kharif and rabi), jowar (kharif and rabi), maize, bajra, jute, ragi, cotton, sugarcane and groundnut (Kharif & Rabi), Rapeseed & Mustard and Wheat at National/State/District Level.
  • Operationalisation of existing methodologies developed by ISRO regarding crop forecasts as part of forecasting agricultural output using space, agro-meteorological and land based observations (FASAL), and drought assessment based on national agricultural drought assessment and monitoring system (NADAMS) project on immediate basis.
  •  Inclusion of additional crops in crop forecast and sub-district level moderate to high resolution drought assessment in the entire country in collaboration with ISRO within two years.
  • Development and refinement of crop forecasts and drought assessment based on current and future trends in satellite and related technologies within three years.
  •  Maintenance and statistical analysis of database comprising all data generated / used as part of the FASAL and NADAMS projects, forecast of results from India Meteorological Department (IMD), State Agricultural Statistics Authorities (SASAs), Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), ICAR etc. for making operational forecasts of selected crops and making the same available regularly to decision makers and identified users.
  • Assimilation of results of crop forecasts information from the projects / programmes such as flood, drought monitoring etc. and generation of the required information.
  •  In the future to coordinate the use of geomatics in other fields of agriculture such as cropping system, horticulture, soil and its health, rainfed area assessment and its management planning and estimation of damage due to natural calamities by the end of 12th Plan.
  • In the long run, work towards assessing the crop prospects using remote sensing and geographic information system on a global level.