India has traditionally been an agrarian economy, and thereby its water demand is dominated by irrigational needs. Given the spatio-temporal variability in rainfall in the country, the efficient use and conservation of water, therefore becomes necessary for assured irrigation. Water saving technologies like micro irrigation help to establish sustainable agricultural practices.
However, industries engaged in rolling on such sustainability technologies face a lot of challenges in its expansion owing to laxity in implementation of related schemes, red tapism, and inconsistency in subsidy reimbursement etc. These shortcoming have made such technologies less popular among the real beneficiaries.
Water Availability and Micro- irrigation
The water availability is dwindling day by day due to an increase in population. India’s per capita availability of water is estimated at 1428k litres per year, which generally falls under water deficient category.
What is micro-irrigation?
It is an efficient method of irrigation where the application of water takes place through drippers, sprinklers, miniature sprays of tiny streams on the soil by surface drip and micro sprinkler system.It is very efficient in tackling the increasing water scares and that is why is being promoted by center and state government through various schemes. sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation are the commonly used micro-irrigation methods.
What is the significance of micro- irrigation?
Increased Irrigation efficiency – Micro-irrigation ensures water use efficiency around 50-90%.
Water saving – Micro irrigation saves water and increases water use efficiency, and reduces the loss of water through evaporation,runoff,and percolation.
Energy Efficient – Reduction in water consumption leads to reduction in electricity wage as well.
Increased productivity – With efficient utilisation of water the yields are higher eg. upto 45% in wheat, 20%in grams and 40% in soyabean.it also makes multiple cropping possible.
Cost savings – The substantial reduction in irrigation eventually makes irrigation cheaper for farmers and hence increases their income.
Challenges faced by the Micro-irrigation industry.
Drip irrigation has not gained popularity yet, which is evident from the fact that only 4% of gross irrigated area and about 15% of its total potential is under drip-irrigation.
Less participation by state govts – Except Gujrat and Tamil nadu, the schemes don’t have an annual execution.The funds are not released on time and are usually distributed at the end of financial year, thus giving a very small window for distribution and this prevents a widespread participation by farmers and only few farmers are seen applying.
Delayed reimbursement of subsidies– The final reception of subsidies is only possible after complete installation of the system many times there is unavailability of subsidy funds for installation.
Financial challenges – Lower adoption rate can be traced back to the reduction in budget during the period (2013-16)
Limited access to energy – Being an essential input of irrigation, it doesn’t have widespread access among farmers.
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Yojana(PMKSY) and National mission for sustainable agriculture(NMSA) focus on farm water management and efficient uses of water.
Per Drop More Crop – Focuses on enhancing water use efficiency and has Micro-irrigation as an integral component.
Training and awareness programmes through print media, radio and tv channels and short duration films.
Organisation of workshops, seminars and interactive meetings will be helpful to the farmers.
The assessment of sectoral utilisation and methods of water conservation and management will make Indian agriculture more sustainable.The implementation of Micro- irrigation through participation of farmers and administration can help meet the objectives of water saving and its efficient utilisation.