Mukesh Kunwar is a proactive farmer of village Bariarpur Urf Bajidpur, block Motipur, Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Since 2017, he has been associated with the project Gram Utthan of PTC Foundation, which is implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation. Mukesh knew that irrigation plays a major role in agriculture profitability and has a direct impact on the cost of production as well as in final yield. In 2019, he availed partial financial assistance from the project and installed a solar pump at his farm. He used the pump to irrigate fields of other farmers nearby as well at a minimum cost of INR 30 per 0.05 acre. Mukesh can irrigate up to 15–20 acres of crop per month with his pump, as needed. Compared to diesel pumps, the cost of irrigation comes down by more than 50 percent (1 acre crop irrigation for one-time use costs about INR 660 with a solar pump; and for the same area, the diesel pump costs about INR 1,500). Diesel pumps also require recurring maintenance after every 30–35 hrs of working, which costs about INR 600, while solar pumps require hardly any maintenance and cause no environmental damage.
Authors: Ashutosh Singh and Ellora Mubashir
(Ashutosh is Assistant Program Lead, Agriculture in Bihar and Ellora is Manager, Partnerships at S M Sehgal Foundation)