In Odisha’s rain-fed Malkangiri, a water scheme helps farmers grow a second crop

On a winter morning, days after harvesting their kharif paddy crop, farmers Deba Kirsani and Sukra Majhi, at Totaguda village in Odisha’s Malkangiri district, have been busy making ready their fields for a second crop. Till two years in the past, this exercise would have been uncommon for the rain-fed Malkangiri district.

“The rainfall is erratic in these elements and we undergo extended dry spells, so we might solely develop paddy through the kharif season. Paddy cultivation just isn’t very worthwhile however we had no alternative. And as soon as the paddy season is over, we both go to close by cities in the hunt for work or work on the fields of different farmers,” says Kirsani, 27, who owns 2.5 acres in Totaguda.

In Totaguda, the micro-irrigation system advantages 23 households, protecting a command space of round 53 acres.

In 2019-20, the district administration began a micro-irrigation system – a part of a particular programme for the promotion of built-in farming – that proved to be a game-changer for farmers within the district, who now harvest a minimum of two crops yearly.

“Due to the micro-irrigation system, for the previous two years, I’ve been rising groundnuts after harvesting paddy, and incomes a further Rs 55,000-Rs 60,000 a 12 months,” says Kirsani, who now plans to develop greens along with groundnuts.

The micro-irrigation initiative, carried out in 4 villages underneath totally different blocks in Malkangiri, is the brainchild of Collector & District Justice of the Peace Vishal Singh, who’s among the many 19 winners of The Indian Express Excellence in Governance Awards for 2020 and 2021. The biennial awards have fun the best work finished by District Magistrates, ladies and men thought of the foot-soldiers of governance as they script change that touches the lives of numerous individuals throughout the nation.

Chatting with The Indian Categorical, Singh stated Malkangiri, in addition to being a rain-fed district, had few irrigation amenities due to which farmers couldn’t develop a second crop.

“We drew water from totally different perennial streams within the space, together with Hatiamba nullah in Totaguda, and established a carry irrigation system, as a part of which water was channeled via a 1,500-metre essential line and smaller department traces. The water was supplied throughout the command space utilizing transportable sprinklers and rainguns that have been positioned in additional than 20 locations. With this mission, we additionally purpose to make sure ample soil moisture through the kharif season,” stated Singh.

In Totaguda, the micro-irrigation system advantages 23 households, protecting a command space of round 53 acres.

Singh stated that to make sure that everyone had a stake within the success of the mission, the administration named villagers as ‘companions’, who not solely made monetary contributions when wanted but additionally helped with bodily labour whereas digging land to put pipelines and to handle the tasks. Of the Rs 19 lakh spent on the implementation of the mission, villagers pitched in with Rs 3 lakh.

“Earlier than endeavor the mission, we mapped the realm in session with the villagers. We additionally surveyed the floor geology and cropping sample and educated the villagers on environment friendly water administration,” stated Soumya Ranjan, who extends technical assist to the mission.

Sukra Majhi, a farmer from Totaguda who earlier labored as a every day labourer after the kharif season, now grows groundnuts on his 3.5 acres – he earned Rs 50,000 over the past rabi season.

“My spouse and I not need to work on others’ fields. Earlier, it was tough to make ends meet, however now I’m pleased I can safe the way forward for my three youngsters,” says Majhi, including that he now plans to domesticate money crops akin to sunflower, mustard, broccoli and capsicum as an alternative of groundnut, which “consumes lots of water”.

In Chitapari-3, a settlement colony that’s dwelling to these displaced by the Machkund irrigation mission in Koraput district, Ghasi Kirsani, 55, who grows inexperienced gram and groundnut on his 5 acres, says, “Earlier, after the kharif season, lots of people from our village have been pressured emigrate to the cities as a result of there was nothing to do on the farms – I used to work as a every day labourer in Balimela city. However now all of us keep again within the village and develop extra crops. Final 12 months, I earned Rs 90,000 from inexperienced gram and groundnut.”

With the initiative translating into higher yields, the farmers say they now need higher advertising amenities for the money crops and need the mandi system to be streamlined.

The Indian Categorical Excellence in Governance Awards 2023

Collector Vikas Singh stated that with the mission efficiently carried out in 4 villages, the administration is now planning to undertake related tasks in different blocks of the district, particularly Machkund and Khairput, which too have poor irrigation amenities.

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