In Rajasthan, the government programme has supported 16,000 farmers with installing solar warer pumps on their farms, accounting for 40 per cent of the country’s installations.
Photo: Dr D. Goyal

15.06.2015

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With dropping groundwater tables and increasing need for energy for irrigation, solar pumps in combination with drip irrigation is the way ahead for farmers in India. More and more farmers are opting for this type of mechanisation – whether with or without government subsidies.

Vena Rangaswamy from Erasi village, Theni district of Tamilnadu, is more popularly known as ‘Solar Rangaswamy’ in his village. His new identity came from the installation of solar-powered pumps in his farm. About three years back, Rangaswamy was in dire need of additional power supply. He applied for a further electricity connection from the state electricity board – which would cost him 400,000 rupees (Rs) (6,292 US dollars). “Even if I had decided to take that connection, I would have had to wait for it, but I needed power immediately,” he says. “I then read about solar pumps in Gujarat through a local agriculture magazine and thought: Why can’t we install this here?” The farmer had a drip irrigation system established in his farm 15 years previously because of falling groundwater tables, so a solar pump made sense. Along with drip irrigation, he uses fertigation, a process where fertilisers are sent to the roots of the plants through drip.

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