Bhubaneswar: The state government will soon hold deliberations with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) about use of ‘micro irrigation fund’ set up under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY) in order to boost agriculture production and farmers’ income.
This was revealed by state Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo at a national conference on micro irrigation organised by Union Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, and its state counterpart here, Thursday.
Representatives from other states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh also attended the conference and shared their experiences about best practices in micro irrigation in their states.
“Agriculture is the largest provider of employment opportunities in the state because other sectors fail to provide huge employment opportunities,” the minister pointed out.
He said the Agriculture department would hold a meeting with Nabard about use of ‘micro irrigation fund’ under PMKSY. The fund has been set up under Nabard, which will provide the amount to states at concessional rate of interest to promote micro irrigation as part of the objective to boost agriculture production and farmers income, he added.
Sahoo laid emphasis on the need for adoption of micro irrigation, which is the key to efficient use of water and enhance the production and productivity of crops.
He also said more than 3 lakh hectares of land have been affected due to cyclone Bulbul.
On the occasion, Union Agriculture department’s additional secretary Alka Bhargava said the eastern and north-eastern states are not at par with southern states in implementing micro irrigation projects. “Our main aim is to bring more and more states under PMKSY which was undertaken for the development of rain-fed portions of net cultivated area and cultivable wastelands,” she added.
She said the PMKSY focuses on water conservation and its management. It has been formulated with the vision to extend the coverage of irrigation ‘Har Khet Ko Pani’ and improve water use efficiency (more crop per drop) in a focused manner with end-to-end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities.
State Agriculture department principal secretary Saurabh Garg said the state faces water scarcity in many pockets despite having 1300 mm rainfall annually.
State Horticulture director Bijay Ketan Upadhyaya said, “Water is the most critical input for agriculture which requires judicious use to ensure sustainable agricultural development and food security. There is a need for adopting optimum cropping pattern and efficient water utilisation.”
Proper use of micro irrigation system will help save water up to 40 per cent and increase productivity and earning of farmers, he added.
In India, micro irrigation currently has a coverage of only 10 million ha as against the potential of 70 million ha.