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Drip irrigation to be promoted among Maha sugarcane farmers

Vendors carry Sugarcane at nagpur market

Maha: Maharashtra’s sugarcane farmers will be asked to strictly use drip irrigation by this year end in order to tide over severe drought that has hit many parts of the state, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said.

“Drip irrigation has immense benefits. It becomes even more essential when the state is facing severe water scarcity. Today, the western Maharashtra and Marathwada region are facing severe drought conditions where water has to be used judiciously. Thus, we have decided that sugarcane farmers will be strictly asked to use drip irrigation system for their crops,” Mahajan told.

Drip irrigation, also known as trickle irrigation, is a method that saves water and fertiliser by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. It is done through narrow tubes that deliver water directly to the base of the plant.

Maharashtra is the largest producer of sugarcane and sugar in the country. It accounts for one-third of the country’s sugar production. Making drip irrigation compulsory for sugarcane growers in the state has the potential to save up to 60 per cent of water.

The minister said he was surprised to find that all crops in Israel are grown through the drip irrigation system.

“During our recent trip to Israel, we saw that the country does not have an environment conducive to vegetation. In such conditions, they have done exceptionally good work by using the drip irrigation system for all their crops. This system ensures a better yield of crops and at the same time saves lot of water. In Israel, even plants in the middle of the road are watered using this system,” he said.

Mahajan said that drip irrigation practice for crops has already been started by farmers in his constituency Jalgaon and the results are good.

“It has been observed that crop yield increases at least three times when drip irrigation system is used. We will change the face of agriculture in Maharashtra if we implement this system for all crops. The farmers too won’t have a problem because the state government is already providing 50 per cent subsidy (for setting up this irrigation facility) to them,” he said.

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