India is the 2nd largest agricultural producer, but still, compared with developed countries like China and the USA, it lags in the quantity of crops produced per unit of land. Such a yield gap exists in India because of many factors such as decreasing farming landholdings, dependence on the increasingly erratic monsoon, high diversity in agro-climatic conditions, timely and affordable access to credit and farm inputs. Among the many missing links in improving agriculture productivity, soil moisture is one of the more valuable information for the entire agriculture sector. Its use cases span drought monitoring, water resource management, irrigation scheduling, and sowing advisories. It is a critical variable at the macro and micro-level for policymakers, crop insurers, commodity traders, and agriculture input companies.

SatSure, a decision intelligence company based in Bangalore (India) and St. Gallen (Switzerland), which has been working with the state agriculture departments, banks, and insurance companies in India since 2017, has launched two new patent-pending data products after rigorous testing and expert validation to address the challenges around soil moisture and crop monitoring at scale. The farm-level Soil Moisture and the “India Cropland Data Layer” datasets shall be available on its data platform SatSure Sparta exclusively from 15th July 2021 for visualizations, download and API based consumption, along with its freemium datasets on vegetation, land, water change detection and climate data categories.

SatSure’s founder and CEO, Prateep Basu said, “At SatSure, we believe in innovating as per the market’s needs rather than pushing technology to the market. While there are other soil moisture products offered by a few firms globally, what we have done is created a high spatial resolution daily soil moisture product using a combination of publicly available satellites, which is unique and as good as having an IoT device on every farm.”

Rashmit Singh Sukhmani, co-founder and CTO of SatSure, added, “Both the products bring forth our team’s expertise in satellite data analytics and AI/ML. Just like SatSure Cygnus, where we are providing high-frequency optical satellite data by overcoming the visibility issues of cloud cover, especially during the monsoon season, through the India Cropland data layer, we are addressing another critical issue of satellite-based crop monitoring, and it is an essential data input for remote sensing and GIS analysts who perform crop classification using satellite images. Trained with more than half a million annotated datasets across different states, it significantly enhances crop classification accuracy, and it has been built using three years of openly available Sentinel-2 imagery from the European Space Agency.”