Bhubaneswar, April 24 (LocalWire): Drip irrigation has come as a boon for small farmers of Harichandanpur block in Kedrapara district, helping them to harvest round the year and get better returns.
Although there’s no pucca road or electricity in this tribal belt, some 68 villages of the block have now adopted drip irrigation following repeated crop loss due to water shortage.
Earlier, farmers had to depend on monsoon rains, now they grow multiple crops throughout the year with drip irrigation, a technique that makes efficient use of the available water.
Many villagers, who were earlier selling crops in the local haats at lower rates, are now selling their produce in larger mandis at higher rates; such has been the impact of drip irrigation in the region.
According to Sumitra Kudu, the secretary of Tangiriapal Village Association, the transformation was possible because of the help from an NGO supported by Tata Trusts.
The Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiative had organised exposure visits for farmers to acquaint them about drip irrigation.
The NGO pays 50 per cent of Rs 1 lakh spent on drip irrigation for each acre, Kudu said.
Today, farmers, particularly women growers, from Harichandanpur block are taking the lead, he said.
Earlier, the average income of a farmer was just Rs 35,000-40,000 annually, while at some places, it was a meager Rs 15,000 a year, Kudu added.
Sharing her success story, Banita, a farmer from Tangiriapal, said: “My husband used to make fun of me when I started farming.
I opted for drip irrigation and earned Rs 40,000 from just one-tenth of an acre.
“I proved to him that I’m capable. Unfortunately, most women here are engaged as farm laborers. Men decide which crops to grow.”