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Commodity Intelligence Report
July 23, 2015

USDA-Pakistan Project Builds Provincial Capacity for Crop Reporting

The Agricultural Information Systems Project in Pakistan is a collaborative initiative involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Government of Pakistan, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the University of Maryland (UMD). The major goal is “Building Provincial Capacity in Crop Production Forecasting and Reporting based on integrated use of Satellite-Remotely Sensed Data and other derivatives.”
The project developed from a fact-finding mission conducted in 2010 by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Economic Research Service (ERS), and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and included discussions with the Government of Pakistan, the Government of Punjab Province and other academic and private sector stakeholders. The mission concluded that Pakistan has the potential to develop their agricultural information system capacities by using satellite imagery, and coordinated, objective, on-the-ground sampling. With a more unified approach, the effectiveness and efficiency of field data collection, processing, and development of actionable reports would in turn result in a more effective program of crop area, yield, and production estimation and forecasting, at the local, provincial and national levels. Pakistan is interested in strengthening and adapting their agricultural information system to support public and private decision makers, as well as to support agricultural growth and diversification

Figure 1: Project established workstations, installed computer hardware, and software, key elements to the transfer of knowledge and skillsets for the Crop Reporting Service. Lahore, Punjab province, Pakistan 2014.

Funding to support the project was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The FAS Office of Capacity Building and Development (FAS/OCBD) provided project organization, management and logistics, and the Office of Global Analysis, International Production Analysis Division (FAS/OGA/IPAD) provided technical support in concept design, implementation, evaluation, and general oversight. The major components were:
1. Training provincial Crop Reporting Service staff and university faculty through a series of workshops on the use of remotely sensed imagery, ground-truth data, and the formulation of actionable monthly reports for policy and management decisions (providing value and benefits to citizens and society)
2. Establishing operational systems (including the provision and installation of computer hardware and software) in Punjab and Sindh Crop Reporting Services, the University of Agriculture-Faisalabad (UAF), and the Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam (SAUTJ)
3. Training in research and crop model development to help provincial universities provide technical support to the Crop Reporting Services
4. Establishing meaningful technical consultation protocols between participating partners
5. Organizing and conducting specialized advanced training at the University of Maryland, College Park, for selected Punjab and Sindh Crop Reporting Service staff, and university faculty from UAF and SAUTJ (4 Borlaug Fellows hosted at UMD) in use of imagery and other information in crop estimation and forecasting


Figures 2 and 3: A sample of monthly crop outlook reports produced by provincial Crop Reporting Services, Punjab ( and Sindh ( The project provided skillsets and insights in the design and production of actionable, timely, and high quality reports.

USDA established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the University of Maryland (UMD) as implementing partners. The national participating partners included SUPARCO (Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission of Pakistan), Punjab Crop Reporting Service, Sindh Crop Reporting Service, University of Agriculture-Faisalabad (Punjab) and Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam.

Figure 4: Hands-on-training conducted in 2013, Lahore, Punjab province, Pakistan. Field demonstrations involved the use of digital (smart phone and GPS technologies) and traditional field data collection.

The project is scheduled for completion at the end of September 2015. In June 2015 Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) staff (OGA/IPAD and OCBD) was in Pakistan for the final training sessions and to conduct a comprehensive project evaluation. In general, most of the objectives have been achieved with significant success. The planned activities and deliverables have been achieved including a series of on-the-job-training involving hands-on field data collection, theory and practice in satellite imagery processing, field and satellite data interpretation (development of complementary systems), land use mapping, and the development of actionable crop outlook reports. All of these activities were conducted in Pakistan by bringing together focused groups of professionals from participating national partners.

Figure 5: Targeted hands-on-training in GIS software application, satellite imagery data processing and interpretation, at NCRG, Karachi, Sindh province, Pakistan 2014.

In order to ensure project sustainability beyond 2015, we are now planning to conduct project transition meetings. The primary goal is to transfer all operations to the Pakistan Central Government and Provincial Governments through a series of meetings and workshops in Islamabad before September 2015. Future USDA involvement will be limited to non-budgetary collaborative efforts and technical knowledge exchange. (For more information contact Dath K. Mita, PhD, USDA-Office of Global Analysis, International Production Assessment Division, at 202 720 7339,

Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available on IPAD's Agricultural Production page or at PSD Online.

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For more information contact Dath Mita | | (202) 720-7339
USDA-FAS, Office of Global Analysis

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