Harnessing the Sun: Solar Powered Lift Irrigation
Irrigation probably remains one of the biggest hurdles faced by farmers. Due to resource constraints and the lack of technological know-how, setting up proper irrigation facilities is quite challenging for the farmers. Rayagada District of Odisha is a rain-fed area and farmers mostly rely on rains to do their agricultural activities. One of the villages in the district, Himarpadi, has a natural stream of water coming from up hills and it provides the local farmers with an opportunity for agriculture. However, the water flow remains very low from the level of agricultural land and thus acts as another barrier for irrigation. Lift irrigation is not practised by people.
EKTA the local partner with support from IGSSS set up a solar-powered irrigation unit in the village. The solar-powered irrigation will not only increase the irrigated command area and thus crop production but would also provide drinking water to the school children and the Anganbari centre through clean energy, which in the climate change era, is of paramount importance. The villagers are planning to sow vegetables in the coming winter and few are even preparing to take summer paddy during the summer season.
Due to cost efficiency, irrigation practice based on solar energy is gaining popularity among the farmers. Kalasi Mandngi, a farmer, thinks that this is the easiest way for the farmers to produce and use electricity to increase food production. Another farmer Shisira Mandangi mentioned that during the dry spells the field dries up. The lack of water can be compensated as the energy of the sun can be utilised for irrigation. Altogether 18 farmers are benefiting by having additional command irrigation in 25 acres during winter and summer season.