Millennium Post

Odisha farmers becoming 'lakhpatis' by adopting drip irrigation

Keonjhar (Odisha), Feb 21 (PTI) There is no pucca road nor electricity in the tribal village of Tangiriapal of this district but drip irrigation has reached the small and marginal farmers here, helping them to harvest round the year and get better returns.

In fact, tribal farmers in 68 villages of Harichandanpur block, who were highly dependent on monsoon and were harvesting hardly one crop a year, are taking advantage of drip irrigation and growing crops for commercial purpose.

Drip irrigation is a method of controlled irrigation in which water is slowly delivered to plants, which results in efficient use of water and fertiliser.

Many tribes who were selling their crops in a local haat at lower rates have started marketing their produce at higher prices in a nearby mandi for the first time ever in their lives and becoming 'lakhpati kisans'.

"I have 4 acres of land. I have cultivated chilli using drip irrigation in less than half acre, while paddy in a traditional way. The chilli crop is fetching me good returns," Babla Hasda from Tangiriapal village told PTI.

So far, Hasda has sold about 35 quintals of chilli for around Rs 1,05,000 at an average rate of Rs 3,000 per quintal.

"I have saved Rs 25,000 after spending on crop inputs, repaying loan and other expenses. I have liquid money from chilli crop now," he said.

For Hasda, a visit to the nearby mandi for the first time was a mind-altering experience where he learnt how the agri-produce was weighed accurately on a digital weighing machine and sold instantly to traders at higher rate.

"Earlier, we were scared to grow crops in bulk as we were unaware of any mandi nearby. About 11 farmers have grown chilli for the first time using drip irrigation in 3 acres of land. We are getting better price," Hasda said.

According to Tangiriapal Village Association Secretary Sumitra Kudu, the transformation in the village was possible because of the training and handholding support from the Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiative (CInI), an associated organisation of Tata Trusts. After learning about drip irrigation technique from an exposure visit organised by CInI, 11 families adopted drip irrigation in three acre of farm land in Kotagati hamlet (comprising 53 households) of Tangiriapal.

The cost of drip irrigation for one acre was Rs 1 lakh, of which CInI paid 50 per cent, while the rest was borne by the farmers, Kudu said.

Stating that 24 more farmers are now keen to try drip irrigation this year, Kudu said, "More farmers are encouraged after seeing 16 farmers becoming lakhpatis in our hamlet. These farmers are saving Rs 1 lakh a year after spending on crop inputs and other expenses."

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