Can technology intervention quench the thirst of India’s drought-hit areas?
August 31, 2016 | Published@ YourStory.com
Before the invention of micro-irrigation techniques like drip irrigation and the sprinkler, full flooding and furrow flooding of the field were the primary methods of irrigation. Water (for flooding) is primarily sourced from canals, ponds, bore wells and deep wells.
Water use efficiency in the flooding method is 40 percent, which means that 60 percent of the water is wasted in distribution or evaporation. On the other hand, the drip and sprinkler methods can increase the water use efficiency to 60-70 percent, and when it is controlled electronically to regulate timing and quantity, water efficiency goes up to 80 percent.
Maharashtra is reported to have the largest amount of unirrigated land under cultivation at 14.1 million hectares, followed by Rajasthan with 11.1 million hectares, Karnataka (7.01 million hectares), Gujarat (5.9 million hectares) and Andhra Pradesh (5.7 million hectares). According to the World Bank, only about 35 percent of total agricultural land in India was irrigated in 2010.
“By leveraging innovative methods of irrigation, water consumption has reduced by 35-45 percent, productivity increased by 20-25 percent, energy consumption came down by 45 percent, the cost of cultivation reduced by 10 percent and overall income increased by about 30 percent. Capital expenditure in micro-irrigation is to the tune of Rs 30,000-75,000 per acre, and with government subsidies and extra income, pay back periods have reduced to one to two years,” says Ashutosh Sinha.
A Masters in Agriculture sciences and business management from MANAGE, Hyderabad, Ashutosh brings with him 18 years of experience in agribusiness, energy and retail industries. He is also the former CEO of Villgro Marketing.
He added that in places like the Vidharbha region of Maharashtra, North Karnataka and parts of Telangana, where ground water is not available, technology adoption will have to depend on water conservation methods and ground water recharge methods like check dams and field ponds.
Founded in September 2014, eXabit’s TactiX-eHarvest helps farmers geo tag farmland, check the nearest market, railways, road or canal, connect to a farm consultant, record and analyse crop progress and access crop advisory services.
TactiX-SCM enables various agri-allied services to manage the entire agri supply chain, with modules such as POP, inventory, logistics, warehousing, processing, distribution, invoicing and POS. Moreover, it’s BI (Business Intelligence) module can analyse all the data gathered at every step in the supply chain.
eXabit has so far has served farmers in Bhopal, Hassan (Karnataka), and Kuppam (Andhra Pradesh), and is claimed to have digitised the data of hundreds of farmers. eXabit solutions enabled farmers with updated information on local weather forecasts, hyper-local or farm micro-weather details, along with crop advisory three times a day. It claims that their technology helped farmers increase their overall gross margin by 25 percent.