MUMBAI, 28 October 2016 : strong> With growing focus on India government on 'per drop more crop' promote farming through optimum utilization of water across the country, Agriculture Times (AgriTimes) spoke with Irrigation Association of India (IAI) president and managing director of Premier Irrigation Adritec Pvt Ltd, Shrikant Goenka on their association, as well as his organization he represent is helping farmers to achieve this goal.
How do you see the drip/micro irrigation sector in India today?
India faces two major challenges today among many other issues, and these are Water Scarcity and Growing population. As per latest research information, 91% water withdrawals in India is for Agriculture , while 7% and 2% are for Domestic and Industry use respectively. Further, the population increase is outgrowing Food Production in India. Hence increased crop productivity is of utmost importance with limited use of water, given the fact that land is limited. Entire solution therefore lies in expeditious switch over and maximum use of Micro Irrigation (Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation) for all crops all over the country.
2004 estimates say that about 69 million Hectares (Ha) land in India can be brought under MI, and during the last decade only 7 million Ha has been brought under this cover.
Hence it is a challenge of all the stake holders i.e Central/State Governments, Financial institutions, MI equipment manufacturers and the Farmers to work jointly on war footing to achieve this goal in minimum possible time.
Has the government taken right steps in promoting drip irrigation across the country?
Central and State Governments are well aware of the above issues and challenges, and they have started promoting Micro Irrigation in a big way by extending various subsidy schemes to the farmers.
Our Hon’ble Prime Minister is most concerned about this problem and he has now become the strongest campaigner of MI, by giving his clarion call and promise of “Per Drop More Crop” and “Har Khet Ko Pani”. Prime Minister Krishy Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) is one of the action plans for same.
We all should therefore work together to make his dream a success.
If No, what needs to do? If YES, what government has done right?
Given this huge task of bringing 69 million Ha under MI, Governments have taken right steps by putting adequate thrust on same and starting various subsidy schemes all over the country to encourage the farmers. It is now essential that a uniform guideline on modus operandi is followed all over India, so that benefits are received by the farmers with full transparency in the system with ethical and good business practices by all concerned stakeholders .
Is there any role model state that has implemented drip irrigation system?
Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are the pioneer states in India to adopt MI in a big way to increase productivity with huge water saving. All other states are following suit.
There were some issues related to subsidy given to drip irrigation system provider, could you throw some light on this?
We are not aware of any such issue. The subsidy is always provided to farmers, and they choose the MI equipment supplier. After installation of equipments payments are received by equipment supplier either from Government or from Financial Institutions or directly from farmers. The system at present varies from State to State, for which Industry, represented by its apex body IAI, is now having dialogues with the Govts to bring uniformity in the system, all over the country.
How is Indian farmers looking at drip/micro irrigation system?
They have received it well. The farmers who have used MI so far have been immensely benefitted by way of increased quality productivity and higher income generation. This is achieved by 50-90% increase in water efficiency , 30% energy savings , nearly 28% fertilizer consumption savings and new crop introductions . This indeed is “Achhe Din". Their word of mouth publicity, coupled with advertisement campaigns by Industry players are encouraging more and more marginal farmers to go for MI.
Do you think, that drip irrigation must be made mandatory in areas where is less rainfall?
Rainfall is an unpredictable phenomenon. It is therefore more important that MI is adopted for all water guzzling crops. Sugarcane, Cotton are some of these examples.
Maharashtra has made it mandatory that for Sugarcane, MI is a must. All other states should issue such directives, which we feel will come into place soon.
What is the current market size of drip irrigation in India today?
According to latest estimates annual spent on MI equipments is over INR 5000 crores ($747 million) and it is expected to grow rapidly over the years.
As per your estimate, what will be the reach of drip irrigation by 2020 or 2025? What are the challenges in this sector today ?
It is desirous that entire potential for MI is penetrated by the next decade. But at the current speed of financing the schemes, it is doubtful whether it can be achieved in such a short period. Entire machinery therefore, whether it is public or private is needed to be geared up to meet this challenge being faced by India.
How is your organization helping drip irrigation implemented across India?
Established in the year 1965 “Group Premier” is serving the industry for the last 50 years with supply of modern Micro Irrigation equipments all over India.
In 2008, the business of Premier Irrigation undertook a JV partner Adritec Group International (AGI) , which has considerably strengthened its technology and market reach and has led to a large increase in its capacity and sales.
PIAL has always been an inventing company and it is now an ISI 9001-2014 and ISO 14001-2004 company maintaining its high quality standards. Joint venture with AGI has also helped Group Premier to provide perfect irrigation solutions to the farmers and planters all over India with its updated and latest state-of-the art technology products.
PIAL has its offices spread across the country and playing a major role in enhancing the growth of irrigation productivity in the states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and other states. PIAL possess the modern technology water saving Micro Irrigation systems and necessary infrastructure to support the anticipated revolutionary change in agriculture in India in the coming years.
Tell us more about association's future plan?
Irrigation Association of India (IAI), is the apex body representing all the Micro irrigation equipment manufacturers and its associates in the country. IAI is working closely with the central as well as all the state governments to support them to achieve leapfrogging growth planned for micro irrigation which is the need of the day in India.
IAI has also published a research paper on “accelerating the growth of Indian Agriculture-micro irrigation an efficient solution” with the help of its knowledge partner Grant Thornton.
With various recommendations made in this research paper, IAI is trying to expedite and streamline the guidelines to be issued by the government and to bring uniform procedure for direct benefit transfers of subsidies to the farmers, in all the states.
IAI has also made various sub-committees within it, to concentrate and work together on various focus areas .
IAI, always welcomes the latest technology in Micro Irrigation systems and it encourages all its members to adhere to strict corporate governance and fair practices to assist the farmers to enhance their income with the use of modern MI systems.