The Centre has taken a significant step towards bolstering India’s agricultural sector with the launch of the Digital Crop Survey (DCS) pilot project in 12 States. This pioneering initiative aims to create a reliable and verified source of crop cultivation data while shedding light on the vulnerability of certain crops to climate change. By leveraging advanced technologies and embracing open-source principles, the DCS endeavors to facilitate accurate crop area estimation and empower farmers with effective solutions.
Understanding the Digital Crop Survey (DCS):
The Digital Crop Survey (DCS) pilot project comes as a welcome stride in establishing a robust repository of data on crop cultivation. It is designed to be an open-source and inter-operable public good, utilizing Geo-referenced cadastral maps alongside Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies. This approach ensures precise farmland positioning, fostering accurate and reliable data collection.
DCS in Action:
The DCS pilot spans 12 States, namely Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Assam. The pre-requisite requirements for DCS, such as the geo-referencing of village maps and the digitization of the Record of Rights (RoR) with ownership extent, were taken into consideration while choosing these States.
The main goals of the Digital Crop Survey project are to create a verified and dependable source of “crop-sown data” and develop farmer-centric solutions. This becomes increasingly vital considering the nation’s current challenges with wheat and rice supply shortages, despite record production estimates.
Climate Change and Crop Vulnerability:
Addressing the impacts of climate change on agriculture, the Minister highlighted that rainfed rice, wheat, kharif maize, and mustard are among the most vulnerable crops. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) conducted a climate vulnerability analysis and projected significant reductions in crop yields by 2050 and 2080. For rainfed rice, the projected reduction could be 20% and 47% respectively; for wheat, 19.3% and 40%; for kharif maize, 18% and 23%; and for mustard, 7.9% and 15%.
Based on the framework of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ICAR identified 109 districts in the ‘very high’ risk category and 201 districts in the ‘high’ risk category under the NICRA network project. This emphasizes the urgent need for climate-resilient agricultural practices to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on crop yields in vulnerable regions.
The Digital Crop Survey (DCS) pilot project is a promising endeavor toward strengthening India’s agriculture through data-driven insights and climate-resilient approaches. By harnessing technology and promoting open-source principles, DCS aims to create a reliable source of crop cultivation data while safeguarding vulnerable crops from the impacts of climate change. As we move forward, the integration of these insights into agricultural practices will play a pivotal role in securing the future of India’s farming community and ensuring food security for the nation.