In a major boost to the irrigation potential of farmers of East Champaran, leading agri-business company Syngenta, with support from Syngenta Foundation India, has launched a community irrigation infrastructure development programme through its CSR funds to commemorate 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagraha.
Over 5000 farmers attended the event where this was announced. The new technology powered by diesel pump and sprinklers enables farmers migrate from flood irrigation to micro irrigation and ensures savings of water and fertilizer of upto 40 percent. The project is especially useful for the district as the net sown area here is 304875 hectares while net irrigated area is 141000 hectares, indicating gaps.
Minister of State for Rural Development Ram Kripal Yadav distributed certificate of participation to 14 farmers groups of the district in presence of Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, at a Krishi Kalyan Mela that saw participation from over 100 companies from private and public sectors. The 14 groups that would adopt these high-end irrigation machine can irrigate over 600-700 acres in few villages, informed KC Ravi, Vice President, Commercial Acceptance and Public Policy, Syngenta South Asia. With this machine, farmers will be able to make optimal use of their capability combined with water accessibility, leading to better productivity and profitability.
The mobile sprinkler (hosereel technology) is readily deployable in irrigation command area to double the area under irrigation. It can also be easily deployed where water conservation (check dams/farm ponds) activities are completed and especially effective for giving protective irrigation in case of prolonged dry spells.
The business model of this project is convenient for farmers. While 40 percent of the project cost comes as grant from Syngenta CSR funds, bank loans cater to another 40 percent, while farmers collectively have to bear remaining 20 percent. If 100 such community irrigation systems are established in the district, it would bring approximately 4500-5000 acres under irrigation.
Agriculture Minister complimented Syngenta for this support to farmers and said that this is a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. “Ensuring access to sustained irrigation is key to farmers’ prosperity and I am happy that this new technology is made available to farmers here. I would advise farmers to adopt this new technology,” Singh said.
Ravi said that irrigation was a compelling priority and being a company consistently working for growers welfare this was important for us. He cited a plan devised by NITI Aayog according to which irrigated farmland in the country must increase by 19 percent in order to double farmers’ real income by 2022-23.
“This unique social intervention aims to tackle a major problem of timely and sufficient availability of water to growers in this area. This would also help growers in East Champaran achieve higher productivity with optimum utilization of scarce water resource,” he added.
“Productivity can be further boosted if the foliar spray of micro nutrients is done using this technology. It has a very long pipe with sprinkler, which makes it convenient for irrigation of large tracts of land even as the machine is placed at one location,” Ravi said.
He added, “Most often, monsoon dependent farmers take one good kharif crop and keep their land fallow in the Rabi season, during which they migrate to cities to find employment. Farmers having access to assured irrigation not only enables him to save his Kharif crop, when there are long dry spells but provides an opportunity to take Rabi crop as well.”
The company feels that at an average additional profit of Re 5000 per acre, total value addition creation for 5000 acre would translate into Re 2.5 crores per year, which can be reinvested by farmers into other productive activities. As the life of the machine is 15 years, this initiative will lead to additional income of approximately Re 40 crores over a period of time.