Geospatial technologies for targeting intervention technologies in rice-fallows and stress-prone areas of Assam

Geospatial technologies may play an important role in achieving the primary goal of increasing the cropping intensity and improving the yield of prevailing low productivity rice-based cropping systems in Assam. Detailed characterization of present cropping pattern and resource profiles, including biotic and abiotic stresses, is required to understand the potential opportunities and constraints in the cropping systems. Geospatial technology including Remote Sensing (RS), which has the advantage of synoptic and repetitive spatial coverage through satellites/ aerial platforms and Geographical Information System (GIS) which can integrate this technology to create maps, statistics and spatial database, is the appropriate tool for making decisions regarding target areas to bring a significant increase in agricultural outputs in low productivity areas and enhance system productivity.

A number of deliverables were planned for the 23 districts under APART, but later on, after recommendations from World Bank, the outputs in map format were developed for the entire state covering 33 districts. The major activities planned under this objective are:

  • Primary and secondary data collection
  • Characterization of existing cropping systems and stress-prone areas
  • Extrapolation domain maps/database
  • Field-level demonstrations of different technologies
  • Training, dissemination of maps, and project outputs

For the characterization of existing cropping systems of Assam, geospatial technologies have been used to create cropping intensity maps using time-series satellite data. Rice area maps for Kharif, and Rabi seasons were prepared since 2017-18. Rice-fallow maps were generated so that these areas can be targeted for increasing cropping intensity and substantially improve the food supply and enhance livelihoods in the state of Assam.

Since Assam is one of the most flood prone states, a detailed characterization of flood-inundated area is required for identifying the suitable area to target submergence-tolerant rice cultivars so that loss in rice production due to flood submergence can be minimized. Remote sensing technology using microwave (SAR) data with cloud-penetration capabilities was used to map flood inundation areas over Assam since 2017-18. In addition, duration of submergence in the frequent flood prone area was also extracted.

Targeting of water efficient crops (e.g., pulses) in rice-fallow areas not only helps intensify the cropping system and enhance crop diversification, but also contributes to soil fertility. To achieve this objective, soil moisture availability maps for rice-fallow areas in 2018-19 and 2019-20 were prepared to precisely target and utilize the short residual soil moisture window.

Field data collection is also carried out during different seasons to understand the cropping profile of the state. Ground Truthing (GT) for output maps was the primary objective of the surveys but along with locations and land details, other data such as information on crops cultivated in different seasons, cropping pattern and intensity, sowing/ transplanting dates, expected harvesting dates, variety, flood tolerance of variety, information on abiotic stresses, duration of the flood, area affected, impact and action taken after floods, were also collected.


Link to Web GIS