New Delhi: A recent case study report by PWC reveals that the Drip Pool Programme, a programme that enables cotton farmers in India to use micro irrigation technology (drip irrigation) via a community funding mechanism, saves cotton farmers significant labor, money and water. The programme addresses environmental challenges and highlights the importance of agro-ecological innovation and community-run initiatives in improving the livelihoods of smallholder and marginal farmers in India.
The Drip Pool Programme, founded by C&A Foundation in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India), has resulted in a 31% higher net income from cotton cultivation compared to non-drip farmers in Gujarat, India. A farmer who recently joined the programme, reported that his gross earnings increased by Rs 20,775 (EUR 277). Another farmer reported 80% reduction of his farming costs.
The programmes help farmers access drip irrigation technology, which involves irrigating crops with tiny drops of water, saving farmers time and money, and decreasing water waste. Farmers are seeing environmental and agronomic impacts as well. Programme farmers have reported using just 1,191 liters of water per kilogram of cotton, compared to the 5,923 liters consumed by non-programme farmers. They have also reported benefits such as uniformity in production, better yield of seed cotton and increased fertilizer cost efficiency as well as reduced weeding and lower labour costs.
Main results from the programme:
Farmers save up to 7% on fertilizer usage, leading to less water and soil contamination;
Drip Pool Irrigation saves approx. 2.5 million liters of water per acre of cotton cultivation;
Farmers participating in the programme have reported reduction in seed cost by 6% and increase in productivity by 24%, compared to farmers without drip irrigation;
Better yields and uniform flushes of cotton have resulted in 31% higher income for programme farmers