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Micro Irrigation for Small Holder Banana Growers of Jalgaon, India: A Case Study

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 148-148 in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Environmental Regulations: Proceedings of the March 11-13, 2002 Conference, (Fort Worth, Texas, USA)  701P0102.(doi:10.13031/2013.7541)
Authors:   Vikas Goyal

Not many knew the objective of citation of Crawford Reid Memorial Award to Mr. B.H. Jain in 1997. It has been for significant achievements in the promotion of proper irrigation techniques for small holders, in India, depicting dawn of a new era in Indian Agriculture.

The problems were numerous due to complex socio-economic structure of farming community. After analyzing the causes of failure of micro irrigation systems concept, Mr. Jain conceived and implemented Integrated Approach, for the acceptability in Indian scenario. He also knew the impact of prototype model demonstration as seeing is believing.

Jalgaon being epicenter of banana caters about 20% of total demand in India, extending over an average area of 40,000 hectares. The farmers, with small land holding were adamant with conventional water application and agronomy practices besides varieties. The net output had been average bunch weight of 14-16 kilograms (with 2 crops in 34 months) by applying average 1700 mm of water through flood irrigation technique.

Starting with 10 acres of degraded land with virtually no-water condition in 1988, Model was placed for R&D and Demonstration. The basic idea was to develop this piece of land that would exhibit all components of natural resource conservation and management techniques to a popular crop that could attract an immediate attention of local farmers in this region. Intensive and extensive field trials along with extension activities were undertaken at the farm and regional level besides promoting tissue cultured plants.

Today, the Model is flourishing on 700 acres of area with no-risk water supply due to watershed management programme so implemented, in phased manner. Only micro irrigation system technology was adopted for water management, reflects a perfect blend of application flexibility and conservation of natural resources.

More importantly, the impact upon the region is remarkable. More than 32,000 hectare of banana plantation has come under drip irrigation with modified agronomy besides tissue cultured variety. The average weight of bunch is 27-30 kilograms (with 3 crops in 32 months) and the average water utilization is between 1100 1300 mm resulting in increase of area under plantation.

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