Ponds and forests represented as agricultural land, Odisha seeks a satellite solution to find “real” rice farmers


After facing statewide protests from farmers over alleged irregularities in paddy supply, Odisha’s government is trying to build a database of ‘real’ paddy farmers by mapping growing area and production using satellite imagery and comparing it to existing records.

A pilot project has been launched in seven of the state’s 30 districts – Sambalpur, Bargarh, Subarnapur, Bolangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi and Koraput.

“We had received a lot of false registrations under the online paddy purchasing automation system. This too had led to confusion and certain types of irregularities. Through mapping, we will be able to remove bogus growers and not issue tokens in their name so that real farmers can participate in the hassle-free sourcing, ”said Ranendra Pratap Swain, Minister of Food Supply and Welfare. -be consumers.

Swain was referring to an online token system that angered many farmers. They had complained that their tokens expired before they could sell their products at MSP’s supply centers. This forced them to sell in open markets below the MSP. All this happened in one year (2020-21) Odisha produced a surplus of paddy. The government maintained that it had bought more than its capacity.

The government hired the Odisha Space Applications Center (ORSAC), a government agency for space technology applications, to map cultivated areas by satellite. The images will be georeferenced with survey maps and records to identify landowners.

State officials said they found people in a few districts with non-agricultural land as cultivable land. Using remote sensing, they even discovered that the recorded lands included forests, residential plots, pastures and ponds. To date, ORSAC has identified more than 26,000 ineligible plots. For example, thanks to remote sensing in Koraput, 1,465 names were removed from the list of registered farmers.

“Although at a preliminary level non-eligible farmers are removed, it is important that the final list is also authentic. This exercise will help us weed out ineligible farmers, ”Swain said.

Explained: eliminate the “fake” rice farmers

Under the Aadhaar-linked online token system which started in 2020, 14.97 lakh farmers have registered to sell paddy. After obtaining a token, the farmer has one month to sell paddy in an MSP supply center. Many records are deleted due to discrepancies in the documents. But through remote sensing, the state plans to eliminate those who provided false land records and who are not real farmers.


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