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Satellite-based Monitoring and Assessment of Smallholder Agriculture System

Crops collage
What We Do

This project aims to improve the earth observation monitoring of monsoon and winter crops in smallholder agriculture system using advanced methods, field visits and satellite data.



How Satellites Make This Work

India has a huge population which is 18% of the global population that relies heavily on domestic agricultural production for its food supply. The Indian agriculture sector accounts for 18 percent of the country's gross domestic product, while 70 percent of rural households depend on agriculture for their livelihood with 82 percent of all farmers being smallholders. In India, there are three cropping seasons, of which the monsoon season accounts for the majority of crop production. Therefore, accurate estimation of the monsoon crops is vital to the country's food security. Typically, the crop estimates are generated through manual surveys which require intensive labour and do not provide accurate estimates. It has been demonstrated that remote sensing has aided this process for many crops worldwide. In India, however, due to the smallholder agriculture system and lack of available cloud-free data, it is difficult to monitor monsoon crops using optical satellite remote sensing. This project aims to address this problem by combining SAR satellite data with optical satellite data as well as field visits to develop a robust methodology for smallholder agriculture monitoring of monsoon crops. This project also aims to improve the satellite-based mapping and evaluation of winter crops in smallholder diversified agriculture systems.


field work photos


Christopher Justice, University of Maryland
Meghavi Prashnani, University of Maryland
Team Members
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