The Odisha government has begun to use satellite-based imagery to verify the area under paddy to help it in the procurement of the cereal for the central pool stocks. It will begin using the technology to assess farmers’ crop loss from next year, a top State official has said. 

“Farmers register in an app in which they tell us the area under which they are cultivating paddy. Sometimes, the data is duplicated or overstated. To overcome this, we have done two things. One is we have revenue records to refer to. Two, we have gone in for satellite imagery since last year,” said Pradeep Kumar Jena, State Agriculture Production Commissioner.

Resolving insurance disputes

For example, if a farmer records he is growing paddy on two hectares, the satellite imagery helps in showing if the farmer is actually cultivating paddy in the registered area. On the other hand, it will provide information if any other crop besides paddy is grown on the two acres of land. 

“We used satellite imagery last year. It worked so well with 90-95 per cent accuracy. This year, we will be going for 100 per cent satellite-based imagery verification of the kharif crop. The imagery is good in assessing the crop but we are yet to define the yield part,” Jena said.

Odisha will begin estimating crop loss using remote sensing through satellite-based imagery. Referring to the controversy over the delay in payment of crop loss insurance to farmers, the Agriculture Production Commissioner said sometimes insurance companies raise disputes and they take a lot of time to resolve.

“Learning from past mistakes, we have made this crop insurance app-based. So, when a complaint of loss is made and the crop-cutting experiment (to determine the loss) is done, the app will be used to ensure all representatives are present when it is done,” he said. 

Pilot project 

Insurance companies can raise their objections on the app so that officials would be able to close the case within 48 hours. The problem, however, is that insurance companies take time to compensate farmers on the ground that their grievances are not redressed.

“Why should the farmer suffer on account of this? This is why we are now going in for the remote sensing application to estimate crop loss. Will will begin this in a year with a pilot project,” he said.

Based on the pilot project, the Union and State governments will decide how much to rely on satellite-based imagery. 

Food parks

The State government has begun focusing on post-harvest management and food processing. “As part of this, we have a mega food park in the Rayagada district and a modern seafood park on the outskirts of our capital Bhubaneswar,” Jena said.

In the seafood park, all key products such as shrimp, fish and other marine produce are available. Besides, the State government plans to set up six smaller food parks and a rice technology park in Bhadrak. 

The ethanol sector is turning out to be a big attraction for investors with rice being the main crop in the State. So far, 30 projects have been sanctioned. “Six projects are under construction and six have been sanctioned land,” Jena said.