Farm ponds on 5% cultivable land of every small farmer to boost income
Kolkata: The Murshidabad district authorities have decided to dig ponds on 5 per cent cultivable land of each farmer to ensure sufficient water supply for agriculture.
It has also been done to address the drop in the number of cultivations per year that is leading to the migration of labourers from Murshidabad.
The district authorities have assessed that the number of crops cultivated in a year is dropping from three to two and scarcity of water has come up as a major reason behind the same. As a result, the income of people involved in agriculture has also dropped, in turn increasing the tendency to move out to other districts or states in search of jobs for better earning.
Now, the district authorities are utilising the MGNREGA scheme to dig ponds on 5 per cent land of an agricultural plot. It is a unique way to help farmers as the digging of the pond is not only being done to ensure supply of water for the maximum time of the year for agriculture but also farmers can make an additional income out of pisciculture in the same water body. It will help in easily carrying out three cultivations a year.
With the implementation of this model of creating the infrastructure for better minor irrigation system, paddy cultivation can be carried out on 80 per cent of the total cultivable land and 5 per cent will get utilised to dig the pond while 15 per cent land in the surrounding area of the pond can be used for vegetable and fruit cultivation.
It will also make farmers less dependable on underground water helping them to check the spread of arsenic.
An official said: "Pisciculture in a pond of 15 cottah in measurement ensures a turnover of around Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000. Deducting a farmer's 25 to 30 per cent investment, the net income would be of around Rs 37,000."
He further added that a massive campaign has been carried out in this connection in the district and interested farmers are being urged to apply at the local Gram Panchayat office along with a detailed description of their agricultural plots.
The work to dig the ponds will be carried out under the MGNREGA scheme. Initiatives to involve migrant labourers who have returned from other states in 100 days' work scheme have already been taken.
So far 10,000 people have been given jobs with each of them getting Rs 204 per day.