Abbas Sheikh is a farmers in Dewas district, Madhya Pradesh, with 2.86 acres of land, where he cultivates onion in 0.57 acres, and wheat and gram in the rest. Using his single bore well to flood irrigate his crops, he was always short of water. He was unable to irrigate his crops on time, which adversely affected the production. Furthermore, the cost of irrigation was as high as INR 30,000 per acre per annum. The motor used for lifting water from the bore well required repair three to four times a year, each time costing him about INR 4,000–5,000. Climate variability and change also make farmers vulnerable, putting them in great need of adaptation strategies.
In December 2021, a CSR supported development project implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation began in his area. The project promoted modern agriculture methods through crop demonstrations.
Abbas opted for a demonstration of a mini‑sprinkler system, which he used to irrigate his 1.09 acres of land. The mini‑sprinkler saved him about 30 to 50 percent of the water he typically used, which could now be used for the timely irrigation of other crops. He no longer needed to prepare drains in his field to remove the excess, wasted water, occurring as a result of flood irrigation. Thus he saved on labor costs. In addition, due to the mini‑sprinkler, Abbas saved three to four hours of his time to irrigate the crop, because his motor for lifting water from the bore well ran for less time, thereby decreasing the risk of its malfunction and reducing maintenance costs.
In addition, a mini‑sprinkler creates a micro‑climate around the crops that is more conducive to plants and less favorable to pests, leading to a reduction in their population. This in turn translated to a reduction by about half in the cost on pesticides. In the case of onion, a major crop in this area, it saves INR 2,000 to 2,500 per acre in input cost due to pesticides, particularly by reducing damage due to the insect thrips, which eats the leaves of this plant.
Abbas says, “By using the micro‑sprinkler, overall I am able to save about INR 15,000 per acre in my input costs from the combination of labor, electricity, and pesticides. These highly useful initiatives for farmers are being promoted, for which I am grateful to the project team. We hope for continued support in the future as well.”
Authors: Ajay Bhavsar and Sanjay Tewari
(Ajay is assistant program lead and Sanjay is program lead with S M Sehgal Foundation)