'Learning Irrigation Techniques Helped Us Get Water Into The Fields'
Tavudu & Simhachalam, Kalamrajupeta, Andhra Pradesh
- Tavudu and Simhachalam come from an agricultural background. They have one daughter and one son (both married). Since they possessed a very small land holding of 1 acre only (80% dry land and 20% wet land), it was insufficient to meet the family needs. This required their son to frequently leave for Chennai or Hyderabad to make up for the financial deficit.
- To add to their woes, the Kalamrajupeta lands are highly monsoon-dependant and there is no irrigation source for the land. The village is located in the ridge area where the rain water doesn’t stay, but gets washed off. The farming lands of the entire village used to be dependent on 6 water tanks, but those tanks have been silted for years now and are of no use to anyone.
- Tavudu and Simhachalam had not been able yield any crop off their land since years. Coming from a very poor family, they were not even in a position to invest in irrigation. Tavudu and his son often migrated to different places to work as daily-wage labourers – this hardship obviously offered no financial security to them. The children never went to school as the whole family had to work to meet even their basic needs.
- They were in this situation in 2012 when Reliance Foundation took up Kalamrajupeta under the BIJ program. The immediate request from the villagers was to do something for irrigation so that they would be able to yield at least one crop in a year, in order to survive. The Village Association (VA) formed in 2012 completed the mapping of the irrigation sources for the village and found the water tanks. They proposed tank de-siltation and deepening work for 4 tanks. Additionally, 1 check-dam construction was proposed by the Reliance Foundation technical team. Together, RF and the VA completed this task of water restoration in Kalamrajupeta, over a period of 6 months.
- The result was astonishing! A total of 100 acres of land got irrigation support from these tanks. They were even able to store rain water for the critical irrigation period – when it’s time for the crops to be watered during the non-monsoon period. Today, the villagers are able to yield at least one crop annually and some are even able to yield a second one. From our point of view, they are still not out of poverty and troubles, yet they’re happy with this small but significant change in their life.
- Tavudu and Simhachalam’s one acre land also came under this irrigation-supported area. They were delighted to be able to get one crop yield a year from their small land-holding – to meet at least part of their financial needs. Initially, they both were reluctant to join as members of the VA. However, after experiencing the impact made by RF, they took up membership in the VA the next year itself.
- They are now active members of the VA and implement the Sustainable Agricultural Practices like bio-manuring, seed treatment, soil treatment, bio-pesticide usage, etc. Furthermore, they have planned for tank silt application and bio-manure application in their land. Even today, they participate in all awareness and training programs conducted by RF and also implement what they learn. They have full faith in RF now. In fact, Tavudu has also minimized his migration months to take care of the crops in his small land.
- Simhachalam, on the eve of World Environment Day celebrations, volunteered in Avenue Plantation and confidently and happily remarked, “Whatever RF says, it is for our good only. We believe them a lot because we have seen the results.”