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All about Drip Irrigation (Download pdf)

Instead of promoting
a system that is a
blind copy of western methods, Indian
policymakers should take into account grassroots innovations and pitch for simple and flexible drip systems

Policy makers and promoters of water saving technologies have significant lessons to learn from the Maikaal experience. In recent years, IDE-India has recognised the success of grassroots innovations and has come up with its own version of the Pepsee, aptly named Easy Drip. More can be done to make drip accessible to poor farmers and promote them on a mass scale.

According to Shilp Verma of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI-TATA), water-saving technologies should be viewed as recurring costs with lower input rather than capital investments that offer returns after a period. It is also necessary to transfer the technology into the hands of the users. Farmers are demanding components of drip that they then can then assemble on their own.

The way ahead
India’s policy makers must understand that irrigation is not merely a routine task of watering crops. In India, as in all developing countries, it is a social activity with a strong human element. The success of any irrigation practice depends on whether it has been able to involve and motivate the people engaged in the activity. The government has turned a blind eye to this fact. Like in every other area, it expects the local community to fall in line, and obey instructions handed to them from the top. In the process, it has failed to capitalise on the creative ingenuity of India’s farmers.

This approach has to change. The first step is scaling up investment in research—not only to improve the technology, but to identify the modifications required to make it suitable to local conditions. The most effective way of doing this is to provide incentives—economic, social and administrative—to local innovators. Also, they must be properly informed, not merely trained to operate the system. They must grasp the fundamental principles of drip.

The second step is to take into account the fact that irrigation units in India are extremely variable in size. Present government initiatives are loaded in favour of large-scale farmers—who according official estimates, comprise a little more than 25 per cent of the farming population! The significance of drip is that it has the potential to meet the needs of not only farmers in water scarce areas, but also of the poor. It helps create a new means of income.

Finally, spreading the use of drip among poor farmers should start with a feasibility study in the regions of interest. This would determine whether the conditions necessary for success, such as appropriate plot sizes, farmer income, availability of water and market access exist. In other words, know the ground realities before installing the system.

The message, therefore, is loud and clear. Irrigation water is a major force in India’s economic growth. Communities must play a key role to make this resource sustainable.

Find out more…
Mahindra Dadasahib Patil PO Nimni, Tasgaon taluka,
(Uses drip in sugarcane, also a local dealer of Jain Drip Systems)

Jalinder Jamdani
Manerajauri, Tasgaon Taluka, Maharashtra,
(Grape farmer using drip on 11acres)

Apoorva Oza
CEO, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP),
Choice Premises, Swastik Crossroads
Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
(079) 6427729/ 7205/ 7029
(AKRSP has been promoting low-cost drip amongst poor farmers in Saurashtra)

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Elecon Complex, Anand-Sojitra Road, Vallabh Vidyanagar 388120
Gujarat, Ph: (0269) 222 9310 to 13

(IWMI has a water management programme in north Gujarat which also promotes low-cost drip and field trials of use of drip in alfalfa fields)

IWMI Field:
Madhu Kapadia, Coordinator,
Maulik Bhatt, Engineer,
Field Station IWMI,
20, Karmachari Nagar, Hanuman Tekri, Egola Road, Palanpur, Gujarat.
(02742) 255609

International Development Enterprises (India) (IDE)
C5-43 Safdarjung Development Area , First Floor, New Delhi 110016,
(011) 696 9812 /13

Nataranjan Iyer
DE Ahmedabad,
303, 3rd Floor, New York Plaza,
Premchand Nagar Road,
Bodakdere, Ahmedabad 380015, Gujarat.
(079) 687 3461 /81

Ajay Dhalpawar
IDE Baroda, C-24 Part I,
Narmada Nagari Tenement,
Opposite ITI College,
Gorwa, Baroda 390023, Gujarat
(0265) 39229

Netafim Irrigation India Pvt. Ltd.
Plot Nos 268-270 GIDC,
Vill Manjusar, Dist Sarli,
Baroda 391775, Gujarat.

Bharat Kavle
Samaj Parivartan Kendra (SPK),
Ozar, Nasik, Maharashtra.


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