Koppal farmers find a way...

Koppal farmers find a way...

Crop losses loom large and farmers are in distress. The government has already declared a number of taluks drought-prone.

“We should think of alternative ways too,” says Prakash, a young farmer of Talakal village in Koppal district. Though there is acute shortage of water in the adjacent fields, Prakash and his four friends have managed to raise good crops. Some parts of Koppal district have black cotton soil. The distinctive quality of this type of soil is that it absorbs every single drop of rainwater and there will be no worry even if rain disappeared for until two to three weeks. If there is normal rain three to four times a year, it is sufficient for crops to flourish.

Because there was enough rain during the month of June, farmers were enthused about sowing a variety of seeds. After the third week of June, rain stopped completely. The fields dried up, and all crops withered, owing to lack of water.

This was a decisive time for farmers who sowed cash crops like onion, coriander, sunflower, chilli etc by spending huge amounts of money. In Talakal village, young Prakash came up with the idea of saving his crops with available resources. He discussed the issue with five other farmers and hit upon an idea.

The five farmers had tractors with trolleys as well as tankers transporting water attached to it. They came to a mutual understanding that with the help of tractors, all of them would get water for their crops. One irrigation pump set, operated by diesel, was also used. In the beginning, there were many detractors about this effort, but Prakash and his friends didn’t care. Dried onion and chilli crops got a fresh lease of life. All the water laden tractors stop by at one field. The outlet valve of the tractor is attached to a pump set.

The valve is connected to pipelines of the irrigation system. “Water is precious for us. So, we are not making use of the flood irrigation system, in which water wastage is greater.

As an alternative, we connected many plastic pipes and the sprinklers will be fitted onto these pipes. This is just like any other sprinkler irrigation system,” says Mallikarjuna Gadagi.

After supplying water to one field, the tractors move on to another farmer’s field. “We have invested a lot on our fields like seeds, fertilisers etc. If we were to wait for rains, we’ll end up suffering a lot. We therefore decided to implement this system,” says farmer Shivappa Adapura.

The expenditure of diesel for tractors and pump sets will be incurred by the  farmer concerned. The expenses are proportionate with the acreage. “As many as 35 tanks of water are needed per acre of field. We have our own tractors and tankers,” says farmer Anil.

The government has provided subsidies for drip and sprinkler irrigation projects to farmers. If there is no rain, the bore well goes dry. Then there is no use of equipment like pipes, clamps, sprinklers’ jet and nozzles. But here, farmers are using their resources rather intelligently.

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