Friday, February 17, 2017

Satellite-based monitoring system to assess impact of natural disasters on rice production in Andhra Pradesh

AMARAVATHI, India - A satellite-based rice monitoring system, capable of collecting detailed and accurate data on rice production, will soon be operational in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The State Government on 9 February 2017 entered into an agreement for this purpose with the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which its Director General Matthew Morell said will provide technical support for the technology that drives the system (photo above).

The rice monitoring system was pioneered by IRRI and the Philippine Department of Agriculture for the collection of accurate and up-to-date information on the country’s rice production. It has made information on Philippine rice production readily accessible to decision makers and has helped government agencies respond better during and after natural disasters.

Andhra Pradesh officials want to achieve the same in the State, almost half of which are areas vulnerable to cyclones, storm surges, flooding, and drought.

“Use of this IRRI technology will ensure better results in estimating crop losses in case of natural calamities,” said Prathipati Pulla Rao, minister for Agriculture, Agri-Processing, Marketing, and Warehousing, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, and Fisheries.

Budithi Rajesekhar, secretary to the Government for the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, believes the system will be crucial for rolling out crop insurance products to rice farmers in Andhra Pradesh. “The farmers will benefit from timely insurance payouts in instances of crop loss,” he said.

The system will be institutionalized within the State Department of Agriculture (DA) and Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU), the State’s agriculture university. A sustainability plan will be developed for the handover to DA and ANGRAU of the operation and maintenance of the system by end of 2019. IRRI will continue to provide support post-project operationalization.

(Contributed by IRRI India/Nafees Meah and Vijaya Kumar Marthi)

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