Rajasthan's economy is mainly agriculture-based, with about 80% of its population dependent on farming. Cereal crops such as Bajra, Jowar, Wheat and Barley account for most of cultivated area. Chomu and Govindgarh Blocks of Rajasthan are better known as the "vegetable basket". Kaladera village lies within this area. Vegetable cultivation puts increased pressure on ground water due to the high water requirements and use of traditional flood irrigation techniques.
We initiated a Public-Private-Community Partnership involving Local Farmers, Department of Horticulture, Government of Rajasthan (by way of financial subsidy) and Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Takerda (Knowledge Partner) to promote drip-irrigation for water efficient agriculture in Kaladera. We play the role of bringing all stakeholders on a common platform and also partly fund the initiative. The journey started in 2008 with 27 farmers covering 13.5 hectares of agricultural land, and, today we have a total of 513 drip irrigation systems installed, covering 256.5 hectares of agricultural land, leading to significant water saving.
Drip irrigation leads to average saving of 1200 kL/ hectare of water for a cropping cycle of 110 days/ hectare. In most of the cases, farmers grow at least two crops (mostly vegetables) using drip irrigation, therefore the estimated saving of ground water is substantial. Also, the estimated average savings on account of electricity, fertilizers and pesticides is approximately Rs 2000/hectare/year. Drip irrigation has also led to a shift in the cropping pattern from mono-cropping to inter-cropping, thereby improving quality and quantity of yield. Results may range from a 20-50% increase in a participating farmer's earning potential.