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Solar Powered Drip Irrigation in Punjab helps cut the Farmer Investment Down to 20%

Drip irrigation is drop by drop application of water to the root zone of plant. It is adopted to improve water application efficiency up to ~90-95 per cent. This means that the water loss through leach down is minimum and moisture within root zone can be effectively the amount of water required for plat growth. Thus, Weed growth is lessened.

The biggest advantage of this high efficiency irrigation mechanism is the allowance to apply the water soluble fertilizer through drip. Fertilizer loss is minimum because fertilizer required for plant is applied to the root zone only. Comparatively, in flood irrigation farmer floods the field with excess water whereas plant requires only a small amount of water in segments and the rest of it has already evaporated when it feels thirst again, as in the field there is little provision of water left. While in drip irrigation optimum water is applied to improve yield by 20-25%. Energy required to run tube well is also minimized. For example, in flood irrigation to irrigate one acre the drip requires 1-2 hours of operation for constant delivery.

Every phenomena has a price and the only factor that proves to be a disadvantage for drip irrigation technology is its high initial cost. Especially, the cost of drip irrigation system depends on the spacing between plant to plant and row to row. To turn this farmer concern into an opportunity, the Government has decided to provide for 60 per cent of the cost under its On-Farm Water Management Programme named Punjab Irrigated-Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (PIPIP) which would be responsible for installation of drip and sprinkler irrigation systems
on turn-key basis and provision of post installation engineering and agronomic backup support services for at least two years. Lessening the burden on the farmer to 40 per cent only.

There is a list of drip installation companies which are allowed to translate your land into modernity with this subsidy. Per say, the project cost per acre fixed by Government for cultivation of vegetables is fixed at Rs. 175000 per acre while for orchards it is Rs. 115000 per acre. Hence, farmer share according to the proposition is Rs. 70000 per acre for vegetables and Rs. per acre for the orchards.

Here in this scenario, where drip has been applied, the Directorate Agriculture by the Government of the Punjab has offered a subsidy on Solar Energy System of up to 80 %. There is also a list of approved solar supplier companies by the agriculture department which can help you solve the energy problem. Their working would be regulated as per
already approved procedures. The high efficiency irrigation system would be designed in accordance with accepted standards by keeping the costs down but ensuring trouble free operation. All in all the farmer only has to bear only 28 per cent of the total cost.

Something about the Author: Jawad Ghafoor holds a Masters degree in Water Resource and Bsc in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Agriculture Faisalbad. He loves to watch football and is a Green Fields Man at Zorays Solar Pakistan.