China to help in satellite monitoring of crops

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ISLAMABAD: The Planning Commission, with Chinese financial assistance, has decided to launch a key project of satellite monitoring of crops. The project would enhance data collection as current assessments are being done by Suparco, but it can monitor only five major crops through satellite imageries.

Under the project, real picture of the agriculture sector would be available.

Among various options, the Planning Commission would initiate a study through a third-party contract to have an in-depth assessment of overall crop reporting system in the country by all stakeholders.

Upon completion of this study, Suparco along with four provincial agriculture departments, would be authorised to undertake an actual assessment of production of main crops in the country.

The project would be executed by Suparco as its initial programme for monitoring of crops through satellite.

The data collection includes input from the crop assessment committees of the provincial agriculture departments, data provided by Suparco and data provided by the relevant sector which consumes agriculture commodities.

According to officials, under-reporting of the crops in the country have a negative impact on national accounts as these are prepared on the basis of assessment of the four provincial agriculture departments alone.

At present, Suparco releases monthly forecast of crops based on satellite monitoring but these are not legally kept in view by the National Accounts Committee which finalises GDP growth estimates each year.

According to officials, huge variation in the size of crops and actual production against the reported production also negatively impacts growth shown by this productive sector of the economy and it remains below the actual growth achieved by the agriculture sector.

Courtesy: Dawn

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