Drought-hit farmers switch over to drip irrigation system

By TheHindu on 13 Nov 2016
ORDER OF THE DAY: Drip irrigation at a coconut farm at Balinayanapalli near Krishangiri. - Photo: N. Bashkaran

S. Prasad

As many as 200 hectares have been covered so far

Krishnagiri: Reeling under an acute drought and water scarcity, farmers in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts have opted for drip irrigation.

Dharmapuri district received 750.3 mm rainfall in 2006 as against the normal of 879.1 mm and Krishnagiri received 535.97 mm as against 830.3 mm. With nature's vagaries having its toll every year, the ground water level has also plummeted affecting small and marginal farmers in these two districts.

Realising the need for effective water conservation measures, a majority of farmers involved in the cultivation of coconut, banana, tomatoes and chillies have now switched over to drip irrigation.

At Pillayar Agraharam at Rayakottai Chinnaraj, a farmer has resorted to growing tomatoes using drip irrigation. Though the yield has multiplied the prices have not increased due to heavy arrival in the Rayakottai tomato market. The uniform application of fertilizers and conservation of water by more than 60 per cent has boosted crop yield ensuring a high crop growth he says.

Tomato farmers

Accordingly, a majority of tomato farmers at Palacode and Rayakottai have opted for drip irrigation. According to the Project Officer of Tamil Nadu Precision Farming Project M. Kannan, "farmers on seeing the advantages of drip irrigation are now coming forward to avail the facility. The conservation of water for various crops including banana, chilly, brinjal and capsicum ranges from 50 to 60 percent.

Water scarcity

Besides this, fertilizers could be supplied along with the flow of water increasing the crop yield by 60 to 100 percent. The technology has now come in handy for farmers in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts due to water scarcity. As many as 200 hectares have been covered through drip irrigation in the clusters of Thally, Rayakottai and Kelamangalam."

At Periya Pannai Madavu in Harur taluk, a farmer has started growing sugarcane through this irrigation. He noted that he could save his crop even during an acute drought due to effective conservation of water. Many farmers in Arasampatti, Thorapalli, Trichipalli, Palacode and Dharmapuri have also taken to drip irrigation. The National Horticulture Board (NHB) has allotted an amount of Rs.389.5 lakh to promote drip irrigation in Dharmapuri district.

Over 400 applications have been received from farmers in Dharmapuri district seeking installation of drip facility. A subsidy of 50 per cent is provided per hectare, according to sources in the Department of Horticulture.

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