Solar-powered irrigation project helping boost income of farmers

Ranchi: Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s vision of a robust and thriving agriculture-based rural economy got manifested in the budget announced for the financial year 2021-22, wherein the government rolled out multiple schemes to boost the agriculture sector in the state.

Implementation of renewable energy projects for irrigation proved to be a game-changer for the farmers in Jharkhand. The lift irrigation system was one such initiative. This was primarily targeted at the farmers who cannot afford diesel pumps or other traditional boring systems.

In the Simdega district, solar-based lift irrigation system has been developed and is being used widely . Solar-based lift irrigation system is providing irrigation facilities to thousands of farmers in the district and transforming the lives of poor farmers. Earlier, due to poor irrigation facilities farmers used to produce only one crop a year. Now, with the help of solar-based irrigation facilities farmers are opting for multiple crops in a year.

Simdega is one of the most backward districts of Jharkhand. Farmers had to work during monsoons and during the remaining part of the year they would migrate to other parts of the state or the country in search of livelihood. With the installation of a modern renewable energy-based irrigation system, the migration rate in the district has also reduced and farmers are producing multiple crops a year. They are now participating in a different kind of vegetable production as well.

This entire project was monitored and installed under the supervision of ATMA,( Agriculture Technology Management Agency), an agency of the government which looks after the promotion of agriculture through adoption of new and latest technologies. The project  started functioning in October 2020.More than 105 projects has been installed in Simdega district itself.

Hundreds of solar-based lift irrigation systems have been installed across the state. Hundreds of ponds, which were earlier unutilized, are now being used for irrigation. Farming is a major source of livelihood for the people of the State.Thousands of families across the state have benefitted from the scheme. This scheme helped improve their living standard.

Earlier farmers were majorly active during monsoons. Fields would be greener during the paddy season. During the remaining part of the year, witnessing activities in farm fields was a rare sight. Intensive surveys carried out to find the problem and after statewide gram sabhas, it became evident that farmers were unable to produce any other crop apart from paddy due to the lack of irrigation facility. With the help of a solar-based lift irrigation system, they started cultivating two to three crops in a year. District ATMA Project Director Krishna Bihari said that after adoption of this project, the farmers income has increased considerably and this inturn has reduced  migration from the district.

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