An expert committee has called for enhanced use of remote sensing technologies and establishment of a National Crop Statistics Centre to help formulate accurate crop area and yield estimates for planning bodies.

In an interim report submitted in July this year, the committee led by eminent agriculture scientist A. Vaidyanathan had recommended ramping up the use of remote sensing technologies to assess independent sources of land use, the area under crop cultivation and possible yield estimates, an official statement said.

The panel highlighted deficiencies in the existing system and suggested alternatives to ensure reliable and timely estimates of crop area and yields at the national and state level.

It has also recommended the creation of a National Crop Statistics Centre (NCSC) — an autonomous, professionally run organisation funded by the Centre to supervise the generation of crop area and yield estimates.

The government had constituted the committee under Mr. Vaidyanathan in February 2009, to suggest ways to improve the process of collecting agricultural statistics.

The panel was set up in accordance with the recommendations of a Steering Committee set up by the Planning Commission for formulation of Eleventh Five Year Plan estimates for agriculture and allied sectors.

The committee, comprising former Space Chairman Committee U. R. Rao and Calcutta Statistical Association Chairman S. P. Mukherjee, will submit its final report next month.