Estimates of Crop Production
India being a diverse country the cropping pattern varies across States. The Ministry of Agriculture has a detailed exercise to arrive at the crop production estimates. The Ministry of Agriculture comes out with five estimates of crop production.
The First Advance Estimate of area and production of kharif crops is announced in September when the South-west monsoon season comes to a close and sowing would have begun in most States. The National Conference of Agriculture for Rabi Campaign is held around this time when the States come up with rough estimates of their respective kharif crops. These estimates are validated on the basis of inputs from the proceedings of Crop Weather Watch Group (CWWG) meetings, and other feedback such as relevant availability of water in major reservoirs, availability/supply of important inputs including credit to farmers, rainfall, temperature, irrigation etc.
The Second Advance Estimate is announced in January by which time the estimates of the kharif crops would under go revision and the area and production figures announced for kharif crops is called the second assessment. By this time the first estimate of the rabi crops is also announced based on the feedback received from the States where sowing for rabi crops would have commenced during November- December.
The Third Advance Estimates is announced in March last /April first week. At this time the National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif campaign is convened and the second estimate of kharif crops and the first estimate of rabi crops are further firmed up/validated with information available with State Agricultural Statistical Authorities (SASAs), remote sensing data available with Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad as well as the proceedings of the Crop Weather Watch Group meetings held every week in the Ministry.
The Fourth Advance Estimates are announced in June/July when the National Workshop on Improvement of Agricultural Statistics is held. By this time the rabi crop harvest is also over and SASAs are in a position to supply the estimates of both kharif and rabi seasons as well as the likely assessment of summer crops which are duly validated with information available from other sources.
The Final Estimate for the preceding crop year is announced in December/January. The main reason for almost four advance estimates before arriving at the final estimate is due to the large variations in crop seasons across the country and the resulting delay in the compilation of yield estimates based on crop cutting experiments. Agriculture is a State subject and the Central Government depends on the State Governments for accuracy of these estimates. For this purpose State Governments have set up High Level Coordination Committees (HLCC) comprising, inter-alia, senior officers from the Department of Agriculture, Economics & Statistics, Land Records and NSSO (FOD), IASRI, DES from Central Government for sorting out problems in preparation of these estimates in a timely and orderly manner.
In October 2015. Government launched KISAN Project [C(K)rop Insurance using Space technology And geoiNformatics] which envisages use of Space Technology and geoinformatics (GIS, GPS and Smartphone) technology along with high resolution data from Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV)/Drone based imaging for improvement in yield estimation and better planning of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs), needed for crop insurance programme. The Pilot Study is proposed to be launched in one District each of Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra during Kharif season of 2015 and two Districts each of these States during Rabi season of 2015-16, which if successful, will be extended to the other parts of the country. The KISAN project is implemented by Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC), an attached Office of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, in collaboration with ISRO Centres (Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad & National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad), India Meteorological Department, CCAFS, State Agriculture Departments and State Remote Sensing Centres. Government also launched an Android App. Designed by ISRO (National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad). This App will help real time data collection about hailstorm occurrences along with photographs and geographical coordinates (longitude and latitude) to help Government to get real time data about the Hailstorms which will be collected through the Agriculture Department officials of different States. This will support in deciding the crop loss more objectively and in a very fast manner.