It is possible to reduce water utilisation by 40% to 60% through drip irrigation, says expert
The State government has come under attack for removing subsidy on drip irrigation, sprinklers, farm mechanisation, and agri processing as well as value addition, when the global focus is on these to make agriculture a sustainable activity.
Dr. M.H. Marigowda Horticultural Education and Research Foundation has taken exception to the withdrawal of subsidy and described it as a “retrograde” measure.
Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru on Friday, foundation chairman and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bengaluru K. Narayana Gowda pointed out that Karnataka stood next only to Rajasthan in terms of extent of drought-prone land. He said it was possible to reduce utilisation of water by 40% to 60% and increase yield level by up to 50% through drip irrigation.
“It is shocking to see that Karnataka has removed the drip irrigation subsidy at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasised per-drop-more-crop concept through such micro irrigation methods,” he said.
Reduces power costs
Also the drip irrigation method was beneficial to the government as it reduces the electricity costs being used for pumping water by 40%. It plays a major role in ensuring food security by protecting the standing crops during dry spells, he observed.
In the absence of subsidy, farmers may not opt for drip irrigation as its cost is high, he said, while expressing concern that it would also result in fast depletion of groundwater table. Similarly, the removal of farm mechanisation subsidy had also come as a shock to farmers as they had to depend on mechanisation due to shortage of labour, he pointed out. Questioning the logic behind removing subsidy for agri processing units, he said this would come in the way of exports and increasing farmers’ income. Pointing out that of late several millet processing units had come up in the State, he said removing the subsidy would hit them.
The subsidy for all these would amount to only ₹600 crore a year, he said, and urged the government to immediately restore them.
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