Shri Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries inaugurated National Crop Forecast Centre (NCFC) here today. Minister of State for Agriculture, Shri Harish Rawat and senior officers from the Ministry were also present on the occasion.
The NCFC, named after great Indian statistician P.C. Mahalanobis, has been set up in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in a short period of six months. It will be responsible to prepare multiple in-season crop forecast and assessment of drought situation using state of the art techniques and methodology for selected major crops.
The Centre has all the facilities required for remote sensing based agricultural forecasting, including a sophisticated laboratory with high-end workstations, image processing and GSI software, large format scanner, plotter and printers and GPS systems. With the technical support from Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad and National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad, NCFC will start providing crops forecasts and drought assessments from this kharif season (2012-13). It has already initiated activities for jute crop assessment using microwave remote sensing data.
Objectives and functions of the Centre are given below:
• Multiple forecasts of 11 major crops namely Rice (Kharif & Rabi), Jowar (Kharif & Rabi), Maize, Bajra, Jute, Ragi, Cotton, Sugarcane and Groundnut (Kharif & Rabi), Rapeseed & Mustard and Wheat at National/State/District Level.
• Operationalization of existing methodologies developed by ISRO regarding crop forecasts as part of Forecasting Agricultural output using Space, Agro-meteorological and Land based observations (FASAL) and drought assessment based on National Agricultural Drought Assessment and Monitoring System (NADAMS) Project on immediate basis.
• Inclusion of additional crops in crop forecast and sub-district level moderate to high resolution drought assessment in the entire country in collaboration with ISRO within a period of 2 years.
• Development & refinement of crop forecasts and drought assessment based on current and future trends in satellite and related technologies within a period of 3 years.
• Maintenance and statistical analysis of database comprising all data generated/used as part of the FASAL and NADAMS projects, forecast of results from India Meteorological Department (IMD), State Agricultural Statistics Authorities (SASAs), Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), ICAR etc. for making operational forecasts of selected crops and making the same available regularly to decision makers and identified users.
• Assimilation of results of crop forecasts information from the projects/programmes such as flood, drought monitoring etc. and generation of the required information.
• Evolution of the Centre to coordinate use of geomatics in other fields of agriculture such as cropping system, horticulture, soil and its health, rainfed area assessment & its management planning and estimation of damage due to natural calamities by the end of XIIth Plan.
• In the long run, work towards assessing the crop prospects using remote sensing and geographic information system on a global level.