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  Metros   Mumbai  19 Jul 2017  Sugarcane set to be drip-irrigated

Sugarcane set to be drip-irrigated

THE ASIAN AGE. | AMEY TIRODKAR
Published : Jul 19, 2017, 12:44 am IST
Updated : Jul 19, 2017, 12:44 am IST

Maha takes decision to save water, will bring 3 lakh hectares under plan in 2 years.

Representational image of farmers cutting and gathering the sugarcane stems while harvesting.
 Representational image of farmers cutting and gathering the sugarcane stems while harvesting.

Mumbai: In a bid to save water, the Maharashtra Cabinet on Tuesday made drip irrigation compulsory for the cultivation of sugarcane, which is grown across 10 lakh hectares in the state. In the next two years,  three lakh hectares will be added to the three lakh hectares that is currently under drip irrigation. The Cabinet has also decided to give low interest loans to farmers for acquiring drip irrigation machinery.

Drip irrigation saves water and fertiliser by using narrow tubes that deliver water directly to the base of the plant.

 

In the first phase of the scheme, sugarcane fields that are irrigated by water from wells, rivers and lakes will be brought under drip irrigation in two years. It aims to bring 1.50 lakh hectares and 1.55 lakh hectares under drip irrigation in 2017-18 and 2018-19. The limit of the loan given to farmers for machinery has been set at `85,400 per hectare. The loan will be taken from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and given to the farmers via the Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank and eventually, district cooperative banks.

Farmers will get loans at 7.25 per cent interest, of which the state go will contribute 4 per cent, the sugar mill concerned will have to give 1.25 per cent and farmers will have to contribute 2 per cent of interest. Sugar mills would have to compulsorily contribute 1.25 per cent of the loan interest taken by farmers.

 

The government has said that if NABARD fails to give sufficient loan, the MSC Bank can get it from the Dedicated Micro Irrigation Fund. The state government will pay the interest of loans from these funds if they are higher than 5.5 per cent. The Centre has already come up with a ‘per drop more crop’ scheme.  But in case there is an overlap of schemes in any area, the state’s scheme will take precedence and the Centre’s won’t be applied.

The state has also decided to set up a committee under the chairmanship of the additional chief secretary (finance) for the implementation of the scheme.

Reaction to the move

There was 50% subsidy for farmers on drip irrigation. As per reports, it brought down to 25%. The government must clarify how reducing subsidy will be helpful for drip irrigation.
— Ajit Pawar, NCP leader

 

The state government has taken this decision in the interests of drip machinery companies. We will not tolerate this being forced on farmers.
— Raju Shetti, MP and farmers’ leader

As of now I don't have the details of the scheme so I can't comment in detail. But drip irrigation for sugarcane farmers is possible. Farming’s future is itself drip irrigation. But this scheme should get other necessary support.
— Rajendra Singh, water expert

Tags: nabard, drip irrigation
Location: India, Maharashtra, Mumbai (Bombay)