Importance of Micro Irrigation for India
From 16th to 18th January, the Central Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Protection Ministry is organizing ‘Ninth International Micro Irrigation Conference on Modern Agriculture’ in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. This conference is a multidisciplinary dialogue, in which issues related to micro irrigation for modern agriculture, as well as new technologies for better crop productivity and various issues such as micro irrigation in cluster level farming have to be discussed.
What is micro irrigation system?
Micro Irrigation System is generally considered to be the best and modern method of fertilizer and water in the horticulture crops. In the micro irrigation system more area is irrigated with less water. In this system, the water is transported through the pipeline to the pre-determined quantity from the source to the field. It also helps prevent waste of water, as well as increase water usage efficiency. It has been observed that by adopting micro irrigation system 30-40% of water is saved. This system improves the quality and productivity of crops as well as irrigation. The government is also promoting the sprinkler and drip irrigation system under the mission of ‘More Harvest’. In our country, water is brought by raw drains for irrigation in most of the fields, Due to which about 30-40 percent of the water goes waste due to leakage. In this case, the use of micro irrigation method has the advantage-only advantage.
Two main methods of micro irrigation system
In the changing scenario, the micro irrigation system is seen as a water saving technique. Micro Irrigation System is an advanced method, which can be used to save water significantly during irrigation. In the micro irrigation system, mainly two methods- fountain irrigation and drip irrigation are more prevalent.
In the fountain irrigation method water is sprayed in the air, which is a form of artificial rain. The spraying of water is done by small nozzles with pressure. In this method, the water falls on the plants like the rain shower, turning into fine drops. Sprinklers are planted in a suitable distance according to the crops, with the help of Pump, so that the water flows with a high drift. The nozzle in the sprinkler throws the water out in the form of a splash. This method has proved to be extremely beneficial in the areas of water scarcity. Generally, fountain irrigation is useful for drought-prone, sandy soils, low-lying land and water scarcity areas. In grasslands and parks, irrigation can also be done by fountain method. Sprinklers can also be moved around the field.
Benefits of fountain method
- In this method water management can be easily done compared to surface irrigation methods.
- More area is available for crop production because this method does not require making drains.
- Approximately 80-90 percent of the water is consumed by plants, whereas in conventional method approximately 30-40 percent of the water is used.
- The land does not need to be adjusted, it can be easily irrigated in high-low and sloping places.
- The risk of pests and diseases in crops is low because the sprinklers can be better sprayed by sprinklers.
- Soluble fertilizers can be used easily to be added to the crops.
The drip method of irrigation was developed in the early 1960s in Israel and in the late 1960s in Australia and North America. In this method water is supplied through the pipeline through the dripers on the surface or sub-surface around the roots of plants. In this system, crop and gardening plants are irrigated by dropsy drops. This method saves about 50 percent water on irrigation. In addition, increase in crop production, reduction in weeds and quality of crop product also improve. In this method, fertilizers can also be used with irrigation.
Benefits of drip method
- With irrigation this method, about half of the water is spent as compared to conventional method, because the water flows on the surface and does not fall below the root area in the soil.
- Weeds are low in the field, so labor requirement is also low.
- Due to early irrigation, there is more moisture in the root area than the concentration of salts is relatively low.
- It is useful for all kinds of soils, because water can be employed according to the type of soil.
- The probability of soil erosion is extremely low and there is no lack of moisture in the soil, which has favorable impact on the growth and development of plants.
Fertigation is made up of two words consisting of fertilizer and irrigation. In this relatively new method, drip method is used to irrigate the plants along with water as well as fertilizers. Fertigation is considered to be the best and the latest method of fertilizing the fields. In this method, fertilizers can be given in low quantity with pre-planned irrigation at low intervals. This gives the plants nutrients as needed and there is no wastage of fertilizers. Generally, liquid fertilizers are used in fertigation, but granulated and dry fertilizers can also be dissolved in water by this method.
National Micro Irrigation Mission
The National Mission on Micro Irrigation (NMMI) was launched in June 2010. To increase the efficiency of NMMI water, increase productivity of crop and increase the income of farmers, National Food Security Mission (NFSM), oilseeds, integrated plan of pulses and maize, Technology Mission on cotton, etc., under large government programs like Micro Irrigation Promote the inclusion of activities. The guidelines given below will increase the productivity of the crops with the increase in the efficiency of the use of water and also provide solutions for issues like salinity and water pollution.
Micro irrigation fund
- Under the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Irrigation Scheme, ‘Micro Irrigation Fund-MIF’ has been created with the initial amount of Rs. 5000 crore with NABARD.
- Of this, 2000 crores 2018-19 and 3000 crores will be used during 2019-20.
- NABARD will pay the loan to the state governments during this period. The loan amount received from NABARD could be returned in seven years with a grace period of two years.
- MIF will increase the efforts of major components of the Prime Minister’s Irrigation Scheme ‘More Harvesting Per Drop’ at an effective and timely manner.
- States will be able to mobilize resource to expand the scope of micro irrigation by incorporating special and innovative projects from this fund.
Prime Minister’s Agriculture Irrigation Scheme
In July 2015, the Central Government approved the Prime Minister’s Agricultural Irrigation Scheme. In this, a provision of 50 thousand crores has been made for five years (2015-16 to 2019-20). The main objectives of this scheme include uniformity in investment, expanding the agricultural sector under ‘water to every farm’ , to prevent waste of water by increasing the efficiency of water use in the fields, adopting the technique of proper irrigation and water conservation. And every drop more crops are included.
There are total 200.8 million hectares of agricultural land in the country, of which only 95.8 million hectare is irrigated. It is only 48 percent of the total area. In such a way, it is also challenging to supply essential water for advanced agriculture in 52% unincorporated agricultural land. This challenge can be faced only by proper water management. Apart from this, almost 17 per cent of the world’s population lives in India, whereas only 4 per cent of the world’s water resources are available in the country. In such case, the challenge of conserving water is very large, in which the micro irrigation system can be very helpful.