Mega drip irrigation scheme for sugar cane farmers in the offing

Mega drip irrigation scheme for  sugar cane farmers in the offing

 The government will soon launch a mega drip irrigation scheme for sugar cane farmers covering 4.5 lakh hectares across the State  Water Resources Minister M B Patil said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, Patil said water requirement for sugar cane grown in 4.5 lakh hectares is 250-350 tmc ft. However, if farmers switch over to drip irrigation it could lead to saving of water up to 180 tmc ft, he said.

Patil said the government was planning to launch the scheme in January next year. Installing drip irrigation system would cost Rs 40,000 per acre and the government was ready to provide Rs 10,000 as subsidy.

Sugar cane factory owners have agreed to chip in Rs 5,000. “Farmers can avail themselves of the balance Rs 25,000 by raising loans from banks and sugar cane factory owners have agreed to provide guarantee for them,” Patil said.

The minister said switching over to drip irrigation system will lead to increase in the yield of sugar cane. At present, the yield is 35 tonnes per acre. A pilot drip irrigation project across 1,000 acres had yielded 65 tonnes of sugar cane per acre, Patil said. The yield of sugar from the cane during the crushing process was also found to have increased by one per cent.

It would take three years for the scheme to be implemented across the State and the estimated cost of the project is Rs 4,500 crore. 

Funding

The Water Resources Department will release Rs 500 crore for the scheme during the first year of the project, the minister said. 

The increase in the yield of sugar cane will result in additional co-generation of power to the tune of 100-150 MW per year.

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