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Govt to conduct digital crop survey across India using AI to assess acreage

The initiative will assist in developing more accurate farm production forecasts, and facilitating timely implementation of suitable trade policy measures

rain weather farming farmers

State nodal officials will use a mobile application for conducting digital crop surveys, alongside relevant web applications

Rimjhim Singh New Delhi

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India intends to enhance its agricultural statistics system by implementing routine digital crop surveys supported by advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) across the nation to accurately evaluate acreage, according to a report in The Economic Times (ET).

Officials cited in the report said this initiative, which could be rolled out from next summer, will assist the government in developing more accurate farm production forecasts, and facilitating timely implementation of suitable trade policy measures. They said inaccurate data frequently prompts impulsive government responses aimed at curbing inflation and may result in trade disruptions.

Authorities typically rely on information provided by local officials and field surveys for crop sowing data, which have occasionally been found to be unreliable, the report added.

State nodal officials will use a mobile application for conducting digital crop surveys, alongside relevant web applications, to collect data on crop sowing. The report said the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare seeks to establish a robust crop survey system integrating cutting-edge technologies including visual and advanced analytics, GIS-GPS technologies, and AI/ML (machine learning) to enhance the precision of sowing estimates, the report said.

The government initiated a digital crop survey across 12 states on a pilot basis last year, with the initial findings showing promise. Officials indicated plans to expand this initiative to a greater number of states before implementing it nationwide. The selected states for the pilot phase last year included Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, among others. These states have been chosen based on their preparedness regarding the pre-requisite criteria for DCS, which include geo-referencing of village maps and digitisation of the record of rights (RoR) with ownership details.

The report cited Pronab Sen, former chairman of the National Statistical Commission, as saying, "Gathering accurate crop sowing data is crucial to building a robust farm statistics system. The planned new system will help but it will take some time.”

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First Published: May 02 2024 | 12:03 PM IST

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