The Ministry of Agriculture recently set afoot pilot projects across 100 districts in 13 states to conduct studies to collate data on the crop output pattern by using high-end automation with private partners. The project is meant to strengthen the government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY) by ensuring more scientific and accurate yield estimates involving farmers and gram panchayats at the ground zero level.
“Although there are agencies (including state government agencies) conducting this exercise, the lack of coordination between them often results in inaccurate yield estimates. This may lead to anomalies including delays in crop insurance settlement. Now we have been brought in the loop to coordinate with the agencies working at ground zero and validate the crop production estimates using high-end technological tools,” Navneet Ravikar, Chairman & Managing Director, LeadsConnect Services, a Noida-headquartered agritech firm, which has been contracted for this pilot project told indoasiancommodities.
The Ministry of Agriculture has assigned the contract of conducting Crop Cutting Experiments (CCE) pilots in 100 districts to two more private agencies—Agriwatch and IAR Insurance Surveyors. “The CCE agencies will co-observe the CCEs conducted by the State Government for PMFBY. In the state where PMFBY is not implemented, these agencies will conduct all CCEs as per state norms (Village/GP/Block),” the Ministry of Agriculture had maintained in a formal note issued to the Agriculture Department of 13 states—Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal. The note was issued last month.
LeadsConnect, with its Remote Sensing, GIS, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics framework capabilities, has been entrusted to conduct CCEs for wheat crop in 25 districts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. “While using these technological tools, our control room in Noida is keeping a tab on the actual experiments on the ground, the critical differentiator is the support from the local panchayat bodies and farmers themselves,” Ravikar underlined adding that LeadsConnect as an agritech firm is presently operating in over 100 districts in the country and has a diversified rural India centric operational portfolio which includes risk and claim management assessment on agri-insurance products helping both farmers as well as insurers.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry is likely to significantly expand the scope of the CCE pilot study with its initiation in 200 districts from kharif 2021 season. “There are indications that going ahead, the project will also cover non-cereal crops. Currently, it is focusing on wheat and paddy,” added Ravikar.