The need for an early and in-season crop production forecasting has been strongly emphasized by the Union Minister of Agriculture. A nationwide project called Crop Acreage and Production Estimation (CAPE) was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operation, Govt. of India in 1991.
Production forecasts were made about a month before the harvest of the crop using multiband satellite data acquired at optimum bio-window and weather data. Later, it was thought of targeting multiple crop production forecasts starting from crop sowing to end of season. Forecasting of crop at sowing stage would require the use of weather data and information on economic factors controlling the choice of crops to be grown by the farmer.
Considering the above factors, a modified CAPE project named as Forecasting Agricultural Output using Space, Agrometeorological and Land based observations (FASAL) concept was devised. FASAL aims at using econometric models to forecast the area and production before the crop sowing season. Use of multi-date satellite images have been successfully demonstrated and used for national level multiple forecasting of major crops.
The operational component of FASAL in Karnataka was implemented jointly by the Mahalanobis National Crop Forecasting Centre (MNCFC), Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India, Karnataka State Department of Agriculture and KSRSAC. The R &D component was implemented by the Space Application Centre (SAC), ISRO, Ahmedabad and KSRSAC.
- Real time ground truth data collection using smartphone.
- Classification of the crops and accuracy checking
- Generation of Remote Sensing based plan for conducting CCEs (Crop Cutting Experiment)
- Supervision of real time CCEs using smartphone.
KSRSAC used optical and microwave remote sensing data for an early and in-season crop production forecast, a month before the harvest of crop which helps the planners and decision makers in determining procurement price and taking market policy decision. In case there were to be any natural calamities like floods during monsoon season that cause damage to the crop, an additional estimate could be made for the affected districts.