I wanted to again thank you for all your support which has helped the project move forward. Our project is progressing well.
As you are aware, we are working with farmers in the village of Parewajal near Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.
Our farmer friends here are simple people whose landholdings are small and owing to various factors like electricity / pump availability among others the water supply is erratic. This leads to dependence on rains and problems of crop failure and consequent migration to city slums or resort to local usurious moneylenders.
We faced several local challenges in installing the treadle pumps. Finding trained persons for bore-well digging and pump installation was a challenge.
Initial pumps were installed with the help of the village headman. Someone floated a rumour among farmers that installing treadle pump meant that they will have to take a loan. It was again thanks to the village headman that these rumours were dispelled.
My experience of past two years shows that convincing a farmer and family takes time but once that has happened, the technology is simple and the pump itself can be installed within a day.
We worked with the help of local elders and village headman to overcome these fears and help farmers adopt this simple pump.
My target of 100 treadle pumps was exceeded and training has been provided to farmers and in some cases their families in operation and maintenance of the same.
We have insisted that even as we provide significant financial support for each pump, at least 10% should be contributed by the farmers themselves.
The installation work is done by farmer self help groups. We felt that this will ensure only serious farmers’ participation
Financial support was provided for each pump but a 10% contribution from farmer ensured serious participation.
These farmers will now have more control over their crops, grow more cash crops and have a more scientific approach to farming. This will improve livelihood.
Owner of a new pump
Before adopting the treadle pump farmers were cultivating mainly two crops and one or two vegetables on their land. These were including the paddy/ wheat crop which they were cultivating during the monsoon season.
After the adoption of treadle pump they have cultivated one additional crop and about five-six additional vegetables on their field in a year. Also almost all the farmers were hiring a diesel pump to cultivate crops before treadle pump installation.
Family takes turns Women too operate
The adoption and use of treadle pump replaced the renting of diesel pump and resulted in savings for farmers who were earlier spending about INR 110-140/ hour for hiring a diesel pump. Farmer also shared that getting a diesel pump at a time then they needed it the most was also a challenge since most small farmers would sow and cultivate crops at the same time (as per the season).
In addition, the farmers shared that diesel pump was available only for a very short period in a day and they would have to flood their field in that duration, as there was no means of getting additional water at some other time in the day if the farmers required. In contrast with the treadle pump, farmers are able to irrigate their lands whenever it is required. The photographs shows the enthusiasm with which our farmer friends, and in several cases their families are using these pumps.
From the detailed discussions with the farmers within one season of treadle pump installations it can be said that not only that farmers have found the treadle pump as a very effective and efficient means of irrigation but the impact on income is noteworthy. About 90 percent of the farmers reported an income increase of Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000. The project has now moved to the next phase, where we have taken the help of local Krishi Vikas Kendra seen in photographs below to assist farmers in identifying and planting the appropriate crops to get best results from these pumps for the next harvest season.
Planting of saplings
Quality seed preparations
Planting of seeds
We have been very enthused in our interactions with farmer friends to note that thanks to good experience, enquiries are coming from neighboring villages on how this technology can be used by them.
We hope to assist farmers in Parewajal to create a ‘model village’ so that farmers from other villages can come to see and later adopt the benefits of this very simple treadle pump technology.
This can then become a continuous process for several villages.
Farmer from neighboring village
Suggestions received from many have played an important role in bringing my project to this stage. Support from friends at International Development Enterprises India (IDEI) has been critical to our success. My project is part of the larger IDEI organization operational in India since 1991 currently working in 15 states of the country and has reached out to over 1.25m small holder farm families.
IDEI’s technology is designed to be one-fifth the cost of its competitors, scaled down to fit one-tenth hectare plots. IDEI promotes technology and services under KB brand. KB stands for Krishak Bandhu or Farmers’ Friend.
The portfolio of KB technologies includes the KB treadle pumps, KB Drip and the Sprinkler Irrigation systems. IDEI follows the approach of using donor funds to build grass root entrepreneurs to stimulate a sustainable & free market. To learn more on IDEI visit http://www.ide-india.org
These have been a very wonderful and satisfying time. Many thanks again for your support help and blessings. We will keep you updated on the progress. Please do write and give me your very important suggestions.