The continuous water problem has impacted roughly 600 million people and is only likely to intensify as the country’s population grows to 1.6 billion people by 2050. Water use per capita in the agricultural sector ranges from 4,913 to 5,800 kilolitres per year.
Climate change has exacerbated water scarcity problems, as it has the potential to disrupt our farming community’s livelihoods and well-being through its impact on weather patterns.
Also, since the introduction of the Green Revolution in the 1960s, sustained irrigation through traditional ways has begun to demonstrate its numerous negative consequences on groundwater quality and height, as well as waterlogging. This is where the importance of micro-irrigation becomes apparent.
Traditional irrigation approaches cannot avoid these losses; however, micro-irrigation has paved the road for improved water use efficiency of 75-95 percent thanks to its water-saving approach.
Micro-irrigation can boost yields while lowering water, fertilizer, and labor costs. The approach lowers water loss by conveyance, run-off, deep percolation, and evaporation by providing water directly to the root zone.
Farmers should switch from flood irrigation to drip or sprinkler irrigation systems, according to experts (micro-irrigation). This will help conserve water while also lowering irrigation costs.
The use of such micro-irrigation systems has also been related to a boost in agricultural productivity. Only over nine million hectares of land in India are currently under micro-irrigation, with drip irrigation covering roughly four million hectares, despite the fact that the country’s true micro-irrigation potential is around 70 million hectares.
Micro-irrigation is well known for drastically reducing the amount of water used for crop irrigation. Sprinkler irrigation, for example, uses 30 to 40 percent less water than flood irrigation, whereas drip irrigation uses 40 to 60 percent less water. The use of micro-irrigation results in a 40 to 50 percent increase in productivity.
However, the process involves its drawbacks too. The cost of the system itself is a hurdle to micro-irrigation in India. According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the gross revenue of a farmer employing integrated farming on 3 hectares (ha) is $1838 (at the current exchange rate of $1 = Rs 68).
In comparison, government data reveal that micro-irrigation is costly per hectare and that the cost is further dependent on the size of the farm. Also, The fact that data on India’s operational landholdings shows that the average size of landholdings has halved since the 1960s adds to the serious nature of the hindrance to micro-irrigation adoption.
Farm revenue is intimately linked to the farmer’s ability to use expensive micro-irrigation techniques, and farm income is affected by the shrinking size of landholdings.
While a number of studies have looked into the challenges and benefits that farmers have experienced as a result of employing micro-irrigation, most of them have been undertaken at the plot level, with little research done at the basin or irrigation system level. Government programs, too, have recognized the potential of micro irrigation and are encouraging it through various schemes.
The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, for example, was implemented in 2014 with the goal of producing “more crop per drop.” With such programs, To supervise the development of less water-intensive crops, governments must prioritize planned cropping patterns backed by strict rules and administrative capabilities.
Also Read: 5 Techniques For Sustainable Farming