31. You held many meetings to awake the farmers to the benefits of Drip Irrigation Method. How did you bring this awareness in them?

31

In 1996-97 in Gujarat, the coverage of area under Drip Irrigation Method was not appreciable. The government paid a subsidy of Rs. 5 crore to farmers annually. Today the government pays subsidies of more than Rs. 1000 crore annually. At that time farmers were not mentally prepared to adopt Drip Irrigation or TAPAK SINCHAI. Along with the Water Conservation Mission I also tried to explain to the farmers how to increase water use efficiency. I told them that check-dams and ponds should be constructed to stop the rain water from flowing away into the sea. Farmers should do farming using Drip Irrigation Immediately a farmer would raise a doubt-

“Isn’t it foolish to irrigate the farm by Drip Irrigation Method?” I would ask that farmer, “How much do you owe to the Society [MANDALI]?” The farmer said, “I owe Rs. 1 lac to the Society.” Then I would say, “The farmers of Israel have adopted Drip Irrigation Method and they don’t owe a single penny to the Society. They are rich enough to purchase cars. Our farmers who irrigate their farms by Flood Irrigation Method have neither time nor money to change their shoes or chappals, they are not able to get out of their debts. Even then they are not ready to change their irrigation methods. When it drizzles during the whole night and in the morning the farmer starts his machine to supply water to his crops in the field, I ask him ‘Why did you start your machine when there was a light rainfall during the whole night?’ Then I would say, ‘You are an enemy of water. You are wasting water recklessly. It is because of senseless persons like you that rivers and ponds have dried up.’”

If we need to get rid of water stress, we must change the methods of water usage. In our daily life also we should use water carefully and sensibly without wasting a single drop of water. Even industries should use water thriftily and sensibly. 80% of total quantity of water is used for agriculture. Each and every farmer should take the benefit of the government’s scheme of Drip Irrigation Method in which the government pays a subsidy of 50% funds, the farmer gets a loan for 45% of funds at a very low rate of interest and the remaining 5% of funds should be arranged by the farmer himself. These government schemes are beneficial to farmers and they should avail themselves of these schemes. India is a developing country and we must do every effort to increase our agricultural production. In order to boost our agricultural production we need to adopt innovative methods of irrigation. Micro Irrigation Method is ideal for agriculture. Mainly Drip Irrigation Method and Spray Irrigation Method are the main new micro methods of irrigation. Drip Irrigation Method is very good and we used to explain to the farmers its numerous benefits in detail.