BENGALURU: Geo-tagging of agricultural plots and employing modern techniques to assess cultivated area or crop loss are yielding unexpected benefits for the state. The GPS- based crop survey, which was conducted for the first time for crops during the end of 2017, has revealed that conventional crop surveys showed huge variations in the extent of standing crops — ranging from 30 to 300% — as against the survey conducted by Crop Survey app.Crop survey using an app was initiated for the first time in November 2017, where farmers were to provide details of crop cultivated on their fields. Using the app, farmers were to upload pictures of standing crops on their land, which was then stored on government servers. Based on the crop condition, compensation or insurance amount was released by the government, directly into beneficiary accounts.
With the new initiative, the state is expected to get a better picture of ground conditions of agricultural crops, so that accurate reports of crop loss can be compiled and sent to the Centre for compensation. Moreover, it is also expected to reduce corruption while distributing compensation.Minister for agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda said that the crop survey was conducted in 1.6 crore of the 2.2 crore agricultural plots spread across the state. “Following the survey, we noticed huge variation in reporting the extent of standing crops. The variance was in the range of 30% to 300% when compared with the traditional methods of crop surveys undertaken as per Department of Economics and Statistics methodology,” he said.
Such variation would result in a faulty assessment of crop loss in plots of land, subsequently leading to several errors in providing compensation for farmers. However, with tech-based interventions such errors are being minimised.Apart from it, the GPS-based crop survey has provided several other benefits to the Department of Agriculture as well. “Since most of the agricultural plots have GPS tags, the data need not be entered all over again during the next crop survey. Considering the inputs provided at the farmer’s end, we only have to apply some formulas to assess the extent of crop damage. Based on this, input subsidy or compensation for crop loss can be transferred directly to farmers’ accounts,” he said.
He was speaking at a national conference on ‘drought management strategies’ organised by the state government and Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Cell.Sources in Agriculture Department said that one of the main factors for the variation observed in the two methods of crop survey was chiefly attributed to human errors. “Earlier, officials of the revenue department, who were entrusted with the responsibility of crop surveys introduced errors into the data. Many entries were made without actually visiting the plot, resulting in the variation,” an official added.