Shiva Parbati Farmer Group, Koiladi, Saptari (Case Study)

By Raj Kumar and Rabindra Karki


Technical, social and economic constraints are limiting the effective use of groundwater and ponds for irrigation in many parts of the EGP due to which large areas of land remain fallow during the dry months. Therefore, access to year-round water for irrigation would significantly improve the productivity of agriculture, improving incomes and food security.

Marginal and tenant farmers, youth and women are particularly vulnerable and could benefit from a new approach to irrigation provision. This project aims to research and demonstrate improved collective farming systems for marginal farmers and improved water management and irrigation practices using efficient systems appropriate to the needs of the marginal farmer communities.

A project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is working with communities across Nepal (Saptari), India (Cooch Behar and Madhubani) and North West Bangladesh, to research and demonstrate sustainable social and biophysical interventions.


Koiladi is a village in Koiladi VDC located at the southern part of Saptari District. The village is located at a distance of 13 kilometres from Rajbiraj, the district headquarters. People from various ethnicities such as mandal, singh, dalit, muslim reside in the village. Majority of the land in the community belongs to landlords who are from Singh caste while others hold very limited land many of whom are tenants.

There are two Koshi branch canals which flow from east and west sides of the village. These seasonal canals provide suffice water for paddy during monsoon but run dry rest of the year except during winter when it is opened once for cultivation of wheat crop.

Despite the good ground water potential (2. 5m to 3m average water table depth), the farmers in the community have not been able to utilise it mainly because of marginal status. These people have not been able to invest in any irrigation technologies and infrastructures such as shallow tube well, irrigation pumps because of poverty, lack of land ownership.

Community and interventions:

In Koiladi, households from different ethnic groups from the community integrated into a farmer group named “Shiva Parbati Farmer Group”. The project has facilitated and coordinated the seven-member group and also helped them lease 1 Ha of land for two years from Rajesh Prasad Singh, a local landlord through a formal written agreement with the landlord.  The major crops grown by the farmers are rice, corn, ladies finger, legumes and other vegetables.  For use of the leased lands, the farmers in return pay 560kgs of paddy for 6,772sqm of land per year or this can also be paid in monetary value equivalent to the amount of paddy.


The Project has also supported the group with a 2 HP electric pump installed in four-inch diameter shallow tube well. The pump has been safely housed in a brick masonry pump house. The pump has a capacity of 8 lps field discharge. In addition to this, the project also provides training on nursery raising, use of micro irrigation technology, soil solarisation, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and record keeping. The project also hosted a visit of the farmer group to Madhubani, India where the farmers had an opportunity to learn about the project and also interact with the Madhubani farmers to better understand the process of collective farming model. Subsequently, we found that Koiladi farmers were encouraged to grow rice collectively following this session. Prior to the visit, the farmers were unwilling to farm collectively because of the difficulty in equal labour contributions, collective working and lack of trust regarding collective working.

The group has been facilitated with the conjunctive use of groundwater developed by the project and surface water developed by the Department of Irrigation (DoI). This is the most economical option since it optimises the water demand/supply balance. This irrigation method also controls water- logging and salinisation and improves crop health and productivity.

The results obtained from soil testing conducted on the group’s land (soil testing being done in the government’s soil laboratory) showed that the soil was suitable for all types of crops cultivated in the fields. This has further encouraged the farmers to focus on improving agricultural production. Additionally, the group has also developed a crop calendar with the support of project agricultural experts. The group has developed its capacity to maintain the records of their saving and credits, agricultural input and income, expenses and crop yield records. It is up to the village based project social mobiliser to train the group in record keeping.

With facilitates obtained from project intervention, the farmers have also approached the District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) for further agricultural trainings and support.


The major impact of the project intervention is the availability of water all year-round. Water from Koshi branch canal alone would be suffice for paddy and one-time irrigation of wheat in winter season but now the shallow tube with electric pump has been providing sufficient water for irrigation for all of the leased land. The group has been encouraged to mix the ground water and surface water for irrigating the land whenever possible. After the project intervention, farmers have grown bitter gourds, sponge gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin, maize and mug in their lands. The farmers have developed a year-round cultivation plan including cultivation during the dry season. Currently, the farmers are preparing their lands for paddy and plan to grow cauliflower, cabbage and potato followed by cucumber, sponge gourd, bitter gourd, pumpkin and bottle gourd. With this cropping pattern, the whole leased plots of lands will remain cultivated all year round.

Prior to the project majority of the group members, especially women, were hesitant to speak up freely with anyone outside the village and were never a part of any decision making neither at home nor at their farm interventions. One of the key impacts is that the farmers are gradually developing their leadership capacity and beginning to understand the project approach.


  • The group will be empowered for a common goal of collective farming for year-round agriculture to maximise the production and income.
  • The farmer’s leadership capacity will be strengthened by providing sufficient training so that they can fully own the irrigation infrastructures, and also manage and maintain them.
  • The project will facilitate irrigation scheduling and crop water management trainings as a priority and farmers will be enabled to make decisions to apply optimum irrigation for each of the crops they are growing.
  • The farmers will be well linked to the Agro-Vets for purchasing quality inputs, seeds and fertilisers and the markets for selling their produce in a good price.
  • The groups will be encouraged to participate in the agriculture trade farers with their production and be facilitated by the local social mobiliser.
  • The groups will be trained to measure agriculture data such as water flow from the pump, measure amount of water applied in the farm and so on.

Gadhimai Dalit Farmer’s Group, Khoksarprabaha, Saptari (Case Study)

By Raj Kumar and Rabindra Karki


Technical, social and economic constraints are limiting the effective use of groundwater and ponds for irrigation in many parts of the EGP as a result large areas of land remain fallow during the dry months. Therefore, access to year-round water for irrigation would significantly improve the agricultural productivity, improving incomes and food security.

Marginal and tenant farmers, youth and women are particularly vulnerable and could benefit from a new approach to delivery water for irrigation. The presented project aims to research and demonstrate improved collective farming systems for marginal farmers along with improved water management and irrigation practices using efficient systems which is well suited to the needs of the marginal farmer communities.

A project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is working with communities across Nepal (Saptari), India (Cooch Behar and Madhubani) and North West Bangladesh to research and demonstrate sustainable social and biophysical interventions.




Kanakpatti is a village in Khoksarparbaha Village Development Committee (VDC), a part of Shambhunath Municipality sitting at the centre-northern part of Saptari District. It is located about one Kilometre from the main highway (Mahindra Highway). The community has different ethnic groups such Tharu, Muslim, Dalit etc. The main sources of income for these communities are remittance and agriculture except for the Dalit community whose livelihoods depend on labour wages and firewood collection from the Churiya hill. These Dalits are found to take loans from local micro-finances and co-operatives during special occasions such as festivals and weddings of their family members. They do not have their own agricultural land and have very little knowledge of agriculture. Most of the lands in Khoksar Prabaha are rain fed and as a result they remain barren in dry season owing to the lack of irrigation cannels and limited ground water potential. There are two community ponds and a private pond in the village which are filled with rain water and runoff water during monsoon (June- August). However, these ponds fed with monsoon runoff can only supply water for a limited period of 1-2 months to irrigate at most 2-3 ha of land after which the ponds dry out and the land remains fallow for the rest of the year. Only few people in areas with potential groundwater use small electric pumps (0.5 -1.5 hp) for drawing ground water for agricultural purposes.

Dalit Community and the Project Interventions:

A farmer group has been formed within the Dalit community under the project called “Gadhi Mai farmer group”. This group has 8 members – 5 males and 3 females. None of these farmers hold their own land. The group has leased 12.5 Kathha (0.42 ha) of land from Mr. Surendra Prasad Gupta for agriculture. The project facilitated the leasing agreement between the landlord and the Dalit group. The lease agreement is for two years with annual pay back of 14 maan/biagaha (560kg of paddy/ 0.67 ha).  Since the land was barren for a decade it was dry, hard and tough to plough. Bullock ploughing was difficult due to high draft required to till the soil.  Therefore, the project supported on land preparation/ land development efforts such as primary ploughing, land levelling and preparation. Unnecessary bunds/boarder were removed and levelled, weed were removed using manual labour and the land was prepared for crop cultivation.  Furthermore, the project constantly supported the group through trainings related to agriculture and crop production, water management and capacity/leadership development. The group also observed a project site in Madhubani, India where they learned how the farmers coordinated and worked collectively (the farmers shared irrigation system, procure agriculture inputs together and work together in the farm) among themselves. Following the visit, Saptari farmers showed deep interest in adopting similar model. They showed deep concerns and reported the importance of right diversion of labour and mutual trust among the farmers for the model to be successful, which was the case in Madhubani.

Access of reliable irrigation system was the key need of the Dalit farmers. Therefore, a single phase operated 1.5 Hp electric pump was installed in the site. The pump has a discharge of 2.4 lps which provides sufficient water to irrigate 12.5 Kattha (0.42 Ha) of land all year round. Currently, the farmers have built furrows to improve the efficiency of water for irrigation and flat hose pipe is being used to deliver water from the pump to each of the farming plots.

Additionally, a sunflower solar pump has also been installed in the site. The pump irrigates lands up 0.15 Ha and also provides complement to the electric pump. The solar pump is the most beneficial option to irrigate the fields because of the erratic behaviour of electricity and frequent power cuts. The project has also established a saving and credit system as a result each farmer has started saving NPR. 100 per month.



After having access to irrigation, and receiving relevant training, farmers have been able to grow different vegetable and corns in different seasons. The agricultural production following barren lands for several years due to lack of irrigation has proven to be a great success. As of date, the famers are harvesting vegetables and selling them in the local market. Corns too will soon be ready to be harvested in a few weeks. In our meeting with the groups, we were informed that they were consuming more vegetables than in the past.  The irrigation pump is being used collectively and they have developed a routine for sharing water.

The group is slowly understanding the project approach because of the continuous engagement of group in the project activities and capacity development trainings. These trainings have focused on leadership development and capacity building for working collectively.

However, there are three key challenges observed so far which are:

  1. The group farmers are not willing to abandon their traditional occupations which include wage labour and fire wood collection as it provides a quick return to meet their daily needs,
  2. The farmers have very limited understanding and interest in farming, and
  3. The lands are very firm and not as fertile mainly due to remaining fallow/uncultivated for many years. A recent laboratory test revealed that the soil fertility is poor due to deficiency of micro nutrients and high acidity.


The project will develop action plans to address the challenges outlined above and implement the scheduled activities for the group.

  • The project will mobilise the farmer group to improve each farmer’s interest on agriculture in order to keep them fixated on agriculture by providing an opportunity to realise agriculture return and benefits.
  • As a regular program, the project will:
  1. Provide training on improved agriculture practices, water management and capacity development,
  2. Set up collective farming system and
  3. Mobilise farmers to establish pump the repair and maintenance funds and develop local capacity for the pumps repairs.
  • With support from agricultural experts and soil scientists, a set of measures are planned and implemented to improve the soil fertility.
  • The project aims to increase the area of leased land. It also aims to train and encourage farmers to grow high value crops that could maximise their income reducing their dependency on traditional occupations.



Stakeholders meeting in Saptari

Raj Kumar G.C, Program Director, iDE Nepal
Rabindra Karki, Program Engineer, iDE Nepal
Gun Magar, Senior M and E Officer, iDE Nepal

Figure 1 Stakeholder meeting at Simrik Hotel , Lahan

Stakeholder inception meeting of Saptari was conducted on March 16, 2016 at Simrik Hotel Lahan. Altogether 36 participants attended this meeting. Participants were from International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Development Enterprises (iDE), Department of Irrigation (DoI), Ground Water Resources Development Board (GWRDB), District Agriculture Development Office (DADO), District Farmer Group Association (DFGA), Marketing Planning Committees, Agriculture Service Centers, Agro-vets, Farmer group’s chairpersons and Landlords.

The program started with a welcome speech by Mr. Indra Dev Chaudhary, Chairperson of DFGA. He appreciated the project approach, expressed his willingness to work with the project and committed to make it a great success with dedicated effort at the farmers group level as well as at the organization.

Mr. Raj Kumar GC, WRM-WRM Director of iDE Nepal gave the overall objective of the stakeholder inception meeting. He said that the main objective of the meeting is to inform the stakeholders about the project, update the progress, and develop a common understanding of the project and seek ways for partnership and collaboration among the stakeholders. He highlighted the capacity development of tenants and marginal farmers groups through a systematic process of training including social mobilsation, water management, agriculture and integrated pest management. These trainings are linked to the farmers needs to the dry season irrigation and will be designed to match charactresitcs of the tenant farmers groups. The key aspect of the project is the dry season irrigation facilities of the farmer groups, use and management of fallow lands, local market linkage and associated benefits for the tenants and smallholders.

Dr. Romulus Okwany, Researcher, from IWMI presented the overview of the project. He emphasized on resulting benefits from tenant landlord engagement. With this particular approach, not only the marginal farmers will benefit from improved technological use and enhanced production but also the intervention will help the landlords to benefit from monetary gain through rents from unused lands. He further explained the importance of individual practice change, group & institutional practice change, confidence, knowledge and skills change and access to information. Major highlights of his presentation were to work in a collaboration, to learn from each other, to make a difference and to reach the goal and realize the vision of the project.

Rabindra Kumar Karki, Program Engineer of iDE Nepal and Raj Kishor Ray, Program Officer of DSI4MTF presented the overall progress of the project till March 2016.  Dipika Das, Project Coordinator of IWMI presented an update on biophysical interventions such as field mapping, monitoring of tube wells and the ponds at the fields.

Stephanie Leder from IWMI focused on the project’s aim to develop participatory gender training for farmer groups in which farmers are sensitized to discuss these gender issues. She further emphasized the need to raise awareness on gender roles and gendered behavior and how this influences the adoption of DSI4MTF interventions and trainings. Further she highlighted a need to increase farmer group interaction through discussions on collective support and increasing the willingness to mitigate the gendered division of labor within the groups. Lastly, she explained about promoting bargaining skills which equip farmers to confidently negotiate with group members and others in management of conflicts.

Guddu Mishra from iDE Nepal outlined how the local SRFSI project iDE are leading could be interlinked with this project. He said agricultural mechanization is also needed to improve water use efficiency and productivity of the land. He explained the potentiality of the promotion of zero tillage technique and other improved agriculture practices being promoted by SRFSI be linking the farmers to the service providers in neighboring districts.

Mr. Surendra Prasad Gupta, Landlord of Khoksar Prabaha also expressed his encouraging words towards the project and progress to date. He committed that his support will continue with more lands available at the vicinity and other supports like bamboo fencing etc. He also expressed his happiness to provide his unused lands for improvement of poor and marginal people.

Mr. Uttam Raj Timilsina delivered his insightful suggestions regarding importance of pond improvements and making use of unused lands for poor and marginal people. He emphasized the scaling of this approach for benefit of other communities within the district and beyond.

Ms. Laxan Kumari Yadav, representative from Rupesh Agro-vet said that she is always ready to help farmers to provide quality seed, improved fertilizers and improved agricultural tools and equipment. She again highlighted the importance of use of these technologies for enhancement of the farmers and their livelihoods.

In the open session of farmers view, Mr. Shiv Kumar Mandal, chairperson of famer group from Koiladi said that ongoing irrigation interventions in the field will be really helpful for them and he suggested to do the similar interventions in other parts of the district. Ms. Janaki Devi Chaudhary, Chairperson of the farmer group of Kanakpatti expressed that their first cultivation in dry and fallow land was really challenging to them. It was hard to determine production yield of the currently cultivated crops cultivated in the virgin land. Finally she thanked the project team for facilitation and help in making it.

The program formally ended with the closing remarks of Mr. Surendra Raj Shrestha, senior divisional hydro-geologist from Ground Water Resources Development Board (GWRDB) Nepal. He highlighted the progress of the project as was encouraging and helpful in generating positive impacts in the tenant and landlord relations thereby improving agriculture production and changing social status of the poor people.  He also urged the stakeholders to extend support for the poor and marginal in the future.

Concluding the stakeholder workshop, the event developed a common a platform for all the stakeholders to sit and discuss openly about the project. The project team was exited to receive the commitments of the local stakeholders.


DSI4MTF has gained momentum in Saptari

Raj Kumar G.C, Program Director, iDE Nepal
Rabindra Karki, Program Engineer, iDE Nepal
Gun Magar, Senior M and E Officer, iDE Nepal

Overview of project progress

Since initiating the project one and a half years ago, it has encountered massive earthquakes and political strikes with a devastating blockade of essential supplies that still hampers full operation of the project. Despite these drawbacks, the project has made significant progress. A series of meetings with landlords was conducted in Kathmandu leading to a Memorandum of Understanding between the farmers and the landlords.

Furthermore, the project was been able to form six farmer groups in Khoksarparbaha and Koiladi with contractual agreements with landlords that permit the land to be used for improved cultivation, installation of water technologies, and recognition of the farmers right to organize seeking common benefits. Five of the six groups have already started saving 100 rupees per month per household with a good understanding as to how their savings will be used.  Technical training workshops have established an understanding of the cultivation of high value crops and improved cereal crops.






Figure 1 : Group meeting at Khoksar

The project team is now mobilizing shallow tube wells water pumps, micro irrigation, solar pumps and small water storages in Koiladi and Khoksar

Nursery raising off-season vegetable cultivation trainings

An agriculture technician from the local NGO conducted four on-farm training sessions on nursery cultivation for off-season vegetables. Each training session was five-hours-long. In addition to theoretical content, the training included three practical sessions: demonstration plot preparation, seed bed preparation and proper use of fertilizer. Demonstration plot size was 2×1 sq. meters and was carried out for cucurbits, bottle gourd, bitter gourd and chili. Those crops were selected in reference to local preference of farmer’s choice, production potentiality and improved variety.


Figure 2: Meeting for Nursery raising training

The seedlings are now fifteen days old and will soon be transplanted to various farmer plots. Until micro-drip irrigation units can be installed, hand sprayers are being used for nursery irrigation

The necessary numbers of drip kits have been ordered for delivery from Kathmandu by Rupani Khadh Bij Bhandar, a local agro-vet. Purpose of the supply through local agro-vet is mainly for sustainability and timeliness.

The seedlings are now transplanted in prepared land and will be irrigated with micro irrigation technology e.g. drip.

Micro-Irrigation Technologies Training and Demonstration

A one-day Micro irrigation training was organized for five groups in both the project sites. The training was facilitated by Mr. Rabindra Kumar Karki, an engineer from iDE Nepal. The overall objective of the training was “To convey knowledge about micro-irrigation technologies and demonstrate the installation process”. Training contained theoretical as well as practical sessions. In the theoretical session, the principles of micro-irrigation, its advantages, types installation, the installation process and trouble shooting. After an all-group discussion, a drip system demonstration was conducted in the field.


Figure 3 : Demonstration of drip irrigation system in (Intervention site I) Koiladi

Demonstration plot size was 12×4 sq. meters using a four-line system for bottle gourd. As a result of this training, the expectation is that farmers are:

  • Able to explain micro-irrigation technologies and their uses
  • Able to install drip, sprinkler and mini-row basin
  • Able to select crops for respective technologies

Of the 16 farmers receiving the training, four have committed to install drip irrigation system.


Figure 4: Wheat crop ( mixed crop with mustard) in Koiladi ( Intervention site II)

Shallow tube well installation in Koladi

In Koiladi, two shallow tube well borings have been drilled and are ready to be installed with motors. The boring contained 4” PVC pipe and the wells are of two different depths; one of 48 feet and the other at 36 feet. Currently diesel pumps are being used to irrigate land until the installation of the electric pumping set can be completed.

During project meeting, the farmers decided to prioritize wheat irrigation first as the wheat is a standing crop in the field now and then irrigation will be allocated to other crops. With the installation of the pump, the farmers have sufficient water availability for both the irrigation of cereal crops and vegetables.


Figure 5: Shallow Tube Well Installed at Koiladi

Project Interventions in Khoksar

During a farmers meeting, prior to installation of the shallow tube well, it was determined that the soil condition of the fallow land plot selected for the well had low moisture content and would be exceeding difficult to till. Hence to overcome this difficulty it was important to moisten the land prior to which installation of shallow tube well was needed.

Two initial borings were drilled in Khoksarprabaha but did not work properly. After several trials failed, we decided to drill two additional borings. One boring was successful but other failed. The successful bore has a depth of 55 feet.


Figure 6 : Drilling shallow tube well

Considering the season and the need to maintain the farmers’ interest, a diesel pump was connected with the shallow tube well to moisten the land. With additional help from a light rainfall, the land has now been ploughed and reallocated among the tenant farmers. It was previously virgin land.


Figure 7: Moistening fallow land by diesel pump

A tractor was used to plough the land at the cost of NRs. 4,000 rupees per bigha. It was completed in a day (12 hours) for 3 bighas. Maintaining damaged bunds and creating new ones, the land has been leveled and shared equally. Average size of land is 3 kattha i.e. 1014 sqm.

After this initial tillage, farmers are ploughing land by themselves using their own bullocks.


Figure 8: Ploughing and leveling of land in Khoksar


Figure 9: Conducting training in Khoksar

Figure 10: A farmer transplanting the seedlings


Figure 11: MIT training in Khokshar


Figure 12: Transplanting seedling

Installation of sunflower pump

Two sunflower pumps have been installed in the Khoksarprabaha. Sunflower pumps were coupled with 1.5’ boring holes. The depths of borings are 45 foot and 52 foot. Pumps are using for supplementary irrigation during the current dry season.


Figure 13: Farmer sowing seed and sunflower pump

Pump house construction:

To protect the pump from rain, sunlight and theft, a pump house was constructed at Khoksarprabaha. The house is brick masonry and it is 2 meter length and 1.5 in width. The house also enables farmers to store tools and equipment related to their farm work.


Figure 14:Sunflower pump-2 and Pump house construction


Design of the pump house

Nursery Raising and Off-Season Vegetable Training in Saptari

Despite ongoing strikes and blockade in the district, nursery raising and off-season vegetable training was successfully conducted in four different sites of our project area in January 2016.

On-farm nursery raising trainings were organized, facilitated by an agriculture technician from our Saptari based local partner “Jilla Krshak Samuha Sangh (JKSS)”. The overall objective of the training was to identify and explain suitable crops, off seasonal vegetables and the right way of nursery raising. The five-hour-long training contained both theoretical and practical sessions. In the theoretical session, a meeting was organized to explain the principles of nursery raising, associated methods and protection from insects and diseases. After this, a full-group discussion session included practical demonstration of plot preparation, seed bed preparation and proper use of fertilizer. Farmers were trained to develop plots for cucurbits, bottle gourd, bitter gourd and chili pepper.

A training session in Koiladi

The training had the following outcomes for participating farmers:

  • Able to prepare seed bed properly
  • Able to select off-season vegetables and improved seed varieties
  • Understand the correct methods of germinating and handling seeds
  • Know how to transplant seedlings
  • Understand the benefits proper nursery raising and off-seasonal vegetable production

Following the training, farmers will grow different varieties of seeds for crops such as chili, cucumbers, bottle gourd, bitter gourd etc. Recommendations for specific seeds have been given according to farmer’s preference, production potential, disease resistance and improved varieties.

The seedlings will be transplanted when they are ready, and at that time, technologies such as drip, small solar pumps (sunflower pumps), mini- row basin piped irrigation and sprinklers coupled with small electric pumps will also be installed to irrigate them. An iDE agricultural engineer will conduct a day training for the farmer groups in each site on the installation, use and management of these technologies.

Demonstration of Sunflower Pump


iDE Nepal, implementing partner of “Improving water use for dry season agriculture by marginal and tenant farmer project ( ACIAR-LWR project)” in Nepal has been creating a clean irrigation solution that enables millions of smallholder farmers to grow high value vegetables and increase their incomes. As part of this, iDE is introducing an efficient and cost-effective solar-powered pump called the Sunflower pump that is suitable for irrigation at the household level in Terai. iDE Nepal, in a pioneering effort, installed and demonstrated a Sunflower pump in the field of Sukher Chaudhary, Kanakpatti of Khoksar Prabaha. This is one of the program sites of ACIAR-LWR project in Saptari.

The pump is a piston pump designed for suction lift powered by 80 Watt PV panel and is capable of lifting water from the depth of 30 feet (suction), pumping up to 10,000 liters of water per day. The pump is adaptable in accessing water in many scenarios – open water bodies, dug well and small diameter tube wells (under 50mm).
In our social mobilization visits to the ACIAR- LWR project communities in Khoksar Prabaha, we found that there is lack of knowledge about water pumping alternatives to diesel, manual, and electric pumps. Only a few farmers know about the solar pumps. Therefore, iDE purposefully installed the pump in the site for demonstration to help communities learn about solar pumping technology.
The Sunflower pump replaced the treadle pump that Mr. Chaudhary was using in the past. The pump is currently working for more than 8 hours each day: from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm during sunny days lifting about 8,000 liters per day. Mr. Chaudhary is irrigating about 2,000 Sq.m land and is growing onion, garlic, luffa gourd and other high value vegetables. He also used the pump to prepare paddy seedlings just before the monsoon. Of the 2,000 Sq.m, the pump supplies water to the field through two drip kits each of 90. Sq. m. Drip irrigation is new to farmers here, and so iDE is helping the local farmers understand how this technology is instrumental in water management, saving water and labor.
Working with Mr. Chaudhary and meetings with other farmers, we have made some observation from this demo:I) There is poor understanding of the benefits of year round irrigation/water management, II) There is a lack of willingness to manage and maintain irrigation systems, and III) Farmers are concerned about the safety and security of PV panels.
This demonstration of the pump has built understanding and interest in solar pumps in the community. In our interactive meetings with the farmers under the ACIAR – LWR project, they preferred the pump due to its very low operating costs. This is an attractive option, especially for those who have seen the demo. Given farmers understanding about the solar pump and the lessons learned from the demonstration, our confidence to plan and introduce community level solar pumps in the area through the ACIAR- LWR project has grown.

[ By Raj Kumar, iDE]