Micro-irrigation in India: an option for improving water productivity and profitability
In India, during the last decade declining water availability to agriculture, has been a matter of discussion, and among various policies and technological packages, water management has received focus for realizing high water productivity. Among various strategies of water management, micro-irrigation proved a success story in many horticulture crops and also in cereals, pulses, sugarcane and cotton. Micro-irrigation technology is bound to maximize the synergistic interactions of improved cultivars, water and fertilizer and could be seen as the congruence of sustainability, productivity, profitability and equity. Since micro-irrigation greatly enhances water, fertilizer and energy use efficiency and promotes precision horticulture, the sustainability could be achieved without the burden of environmental degradation. Horticulture has to gain much for meeting the challenge of more production with declining land and water by adoption of efficient techniques towards high water productivity. Trials conducted on micro-irrigation and fertigation on more than 50 horticultural crops (fruits, vegetables, tubers spices, plantation crops and ornamental crops) have clearly demonstrated a savings of 50-80% in water, 30-50% in fertilizer, 50-100% enhancement in yield and improved quality of produce besides containment in incidence of the diseases. At present, India has coverage of about 9 million ha in micro-irrigation with a plan to cover about 69 million ha by 2030. Institutional support system linked with public and private enterprise and concerted efforts with identified destination involving all the stakeholders keeping the technology at driving seat and farmers as centre of attention is bound to have faster and inclusive growth with the policy of per drop more crop, to achieve highest productivity of water. There is a success story across the country for enhancing water productivity and enhancing farmers' income across the country. The paper deals with growth and impact of micro-irrigation and also innovations in technology and delivery.
Singh, H.P. and Singh, B. (2020). Micro-irrigation in India: an option for improving water productivity and profitability. Acta Hortic. 1279, 279-286
India, horticulture, micro-irrigation, fertigation, growth and impact, technology