Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF) of government’s agri export promotion body APEDA has invited bids by February 18 for crop survey to estimate acreage and assess crop health and expected yield of Basmati rice during 2022 and 2023.
However, it has kept out those firms who have experience only in yield estimation through crop cutting experiments, even as several agri tech companies have been enrolled by the government, some even without prior experience due to new areas opening up for the private sector in the crop insurance segment.
The survey could not be undertaken in last two years due to Covid pandemic while APEDA has been undertaking crop estimate of Basmati rice since 2003. “Field based survey is to be carried out on the basis of sample group of farmers selected at district level in Geographical Indications (GI) area of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir,” APEDA said in a notice.
It has asked agencies to submit with detailed model and techniques to be used for the crop survey. Both the ‘Technical Bid’ and ‘Financial Bid’ should be submitted separately, it said.
The conditions for the bidding has terms including that a firm shall have minimum of five years of experience in carrying out crop surveys with satellite imageries and field based surveys for a trade body or government organization in India. “Experience of crop cutting experiments will not be considered for this purpose,” it said.
The satellite imageries and field-based survey shall have to cover acreage estimation of all basmati rice crop varieties differentiated in traditional and evolved varieties of Basmati rice and Sharbati and Sugandha varieties of non-Basmati. Reports will have to be submitted on district level basis for each State.
However, experts have questioned the legitimacy being given to non-notified varieties of Basmati since Sharbati and Suganda as they are considered to be mainly used for mixing in pure Basmati. “It could be also projected that non-notified varieties are in the process of notification,” said an expert, adding “why should adulterants be surveyed”. By providing quantity of such non-basmati crops, the survey will unwittingly facilitate in depressing actual Basmati paddy prices or distort market sentiments, he said.
APEDA said variety-wise crop health monitoring and analysis will also have to be done by the selected agency besides advance prediction of yield through climate-based yield modeling using 10 years of historical yield and climate data.
Reports will have to be submitted in July, August, September, October, November and December by end of each month. In case of unusual weather conditions and pests/diseases attack, affecting yields, fortnightly report will also have to be submitted particularly at crop maturity period.
The bidders who secure minimum 70 per cent marks (49 out of 70 marks) in technical presentations will be shortlisted and their financial bids shall then be opened. Financial bid will carry a maximum of 30 marks.