Monitoring crop yield anomalies in Indonesia

Indonesian farmers finance investments in rice crops. However, if harvests are poor or crops fail, they risk of losing their investments. Poor farmers have limited assets to fall back on, and the forced selling of their few available assets in order to survive can trap them in poverty. Crop insurance is a possible solution. In addition, it provides an incentive for risk-averse farmers to make the investments required to enhance crop yields and income. Most farmers in East Java would like to grow a third rice crop, but they often hesitate to do so because of uncertainty about the seasonal rainfall required for a successful crop. They need information about how the season will unfold and the potential impact on expected crop yields.

monthly rainfall deficit DAS Java

Severity

The number of people living below the poverty line in East Java reached 6.65 million (> 18%) in 2008. Water demand for agriculture and non-agriculture (industrial, households, etc.) activities is rising constantly in line with the population, whereas water supplies are declining due to (1) the fall in the water-retention capacity of the watershed, (2) environmental degradation due to human activities and (3) climate change.  Population growth is pushing up demand for food but declining water availability may hamper food production.

Solution

The project provides technical assistance for the assessment of crop yield anomalies at the plot scale by combining information from processed satellite signals (radar and optical earth observations) with information from weather monitoring, analyses and forecasting, crop models, and hydrological models. The integrated information will be made accessible to the Ministry of Agriculture and related insurance companies using a Forecasting and Early Warning System that is already operational at Indonesia’s meteorology and climatology institute, the BMKG. The information will greatly help the roll-out of the crop insurance programme that the Government of Indonesia has launched. The associated services include training staff at the local organisations to collect and integrate the information that the project introduces to allow the continuation and expansion of the services to other areas when the project terminates after three years.

Deltares contribution

Deltares develops the early warning information services for floods, droughts and climate. Deltares is responsible for data assimilation (involving satellite data, for example) and modelling integration and implementation (by, for instance, integrating land use/hydrology models relating to water supplies for irrigation). Deltares also coordinates the knowledge development platform in which Deltares, Alterra, KNMI and ITC cooperate with BMKG, LAPAN, PusAir, BIG, BPPT, and the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (Balitbangtan, Ministry of Agriculture). The partnership intensifies and expands the current fruitful cooperation with KNMI and Alterra and with the Indonesian parties in the Joint Cooperation Program (JCP), which started in 2010.