Solar energy is the cleanest form of energy for mankind. Solar energy is now a day’s widely been used in many sectors. With new technological advancements solar energy is now used by farmers in agriculture purpose. Rayagada District of Odisha is a rain fed area and agricultural activities remains still during Kharif season. In Rabi season most of the marginal farmers cannot cultivate Rabi crops extensively due to resource constraints for setting up irrigation facility for them.
Village Himarpadi there is a natural source of water coming from up hills which is results of natural stream and it provides opportunity to the local tribes to do agriculture. However the water flow remains very low from the level of agriculture lands found in both sides of the stream limits the practice of flow irrigation is not possible. People do not have the practice of lift irrigation. EKTA the local partner with support from IGSSS set up the solar powered irrigation unit in the village. The solar powered irrigation will not only increase the irrigated command area and thus crop production but also would provide drinking water to the school children and the Anganbari center through clean energy, which in the climate change era, is of paramount importance. The villagers are planning to take vegetable in the coming winter and even a few to take summer paddy during summer season. All together 18 farmers are benefiting by having additional command irrigation in 25 acres during winter and summer season.
Balki Mandangi shared that he has the crop planning of tomato, brinjal and chilli for winter post kharif paddy harvesting in his 1 acre of land and if water will be available plant summer paddy. He has already 2 critical irrigations for his standing paddy during the prolonged dry spell in the month of August. The farmer Kalasi Mandngi is of the opinion that this is the easiest way for us to produce electricity and use at our disposal to increase the food production. Shisira Mandangi mentioned that during the dry spells in between when our field dries up it needs more water and that time due to more sun shines the production of energy in the panels are also good.
Due to cost efficiency, irrigation practice run on solar energy is gaining popularity among the farmers. There is scope of replicating the model among other farmers in the Rayagada and Koraput District where supply of electricity is not regular. Since the initial cost of purchasing solar irrigation facility is very high, farmer groups can be encouraged for adopting this clean technology and using it in group farming activities.