Drip irrigation turning around farmers' fortunes

By TheHindu on 18 Apr 2017 | read

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Small and marginal farmers with small land holdings of below five acres are benefiting from drip and sprinkler irrigation in the district. Hundreds of small farmers cultivating vegetables, papaya, guava and flower plants were utilising the 100 and 90 per cent subsidy being extended to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe farmers and to others.

Farmers investing a maximum amount of Rs.1 lakh were able to reap 100 per cent profits due to their taking advantage of the drip irrigation. While SC and ST farmers were getting free supply of the drip irrigation infrastructure kits, others were getting 90 per cent subsidy with a mere 10 per cent contribution towards the cost of the drip irrigation systems. Medium farmers are eligible for 75 per cent subsidy and farmers irrespective of their holdings are eligible for 40 per cent subsidy.

Highly subsidised drip irrigation systems being supplied to the farmers are triggering in an economic transformation of the small and marginal farmers. All that a farmer needs is a small piece of land anywhere from 2 to 5 acres and a bore-well and the rest is being provided by the government and banks.

Kundarapu Nageswar Rao, a small farmer hailing from Bhogapuram village in Atchutapuram mandal has a success story to share. He cultivates tomato, papaya and lady fingers in his five acre land and is earning a profit of Rs.2 lakhs a year on his produce. On an average, he earns Rs.15,000 per month which is big money in a village. Due to middlemen exploiting the farmers and purchasing their produce at a far lesser price than the market price, they could not earn much profit on their produce, Nageswar Rao says. The middlemen were selling vegetables purchased by them at exorbitant prices in the city. While prices of vegetables are escalating, the farmers who are the actual producers were selling their products at a throw away prices.

Appalanaidu, another farmer from Cheedivalasa village in Padmanabham mandal is an SC farmer with 2 acres of land. Using drip irrigation, he had been cultivating leafy vegetables and tomatoes and earning Rs.50,000 per acre annually and is earning a monthly income of Rs.8,000 which is taking care of his family and children's education. He said that scores of farmers in his village were earning handsomely on their lands using 100 per cent subsidy on drip.

Andhra Pradesh Micro Irrigation Project (APMIP) director S. Rama Mohan Rao told The Hindu here on Wednesday that the drip and sprinkler irrigation is a great boon to small and marginal farmers in the district. Every farmer is able to earn a fairly good income which is keeping his family going. The irrigation systems being supplied to the farmers helps to judiciously use water for the crops and prevents wastage. The systems help in supply of sufficient amount of water required for the crop. The farmers have a false notion that supply of more water will boost crop production. Excess supply of water damages the crop.

APMIP drip and sprinkler irrigation systems are in vogue in 9.309 hectares in the district. In the 2011-12 financial year drip irrigation has been expanded in 536.35 hectares and sprinkler irrigation in 79 hectares of land.

The irrigation systems help judiciously use water for the crops and prevent wastage

The farmers are being exploited by middlemen who buy their produce at a low price