Benefits Tribal Farmers, Generates Local Livelihood
The state government of Odisha has a mandate of ‘Irrigated Farmlands, Empowered Farmers’. Integrated Tribal Development Agency Sundargarh (ITDA), has operationalized various programs for farmers’ welfare. To provide irrigation to their farmlands, farm pond and ring well is dug on the land of farmers. This has greatly benefited tribal farmers in the area.
Sundargarh district is bound by hills and forests. The locals in the area engage in various types of cultivation. But, they are largely dependent on rain water for irrigation purposes. As a result, irregular rainfall leads to a poor harvest. At such a time, the farm ponds and ring wells dug on farmers’ lands have helped to ensure adequate water supply to the fields. The programme is operational in 9 blocks of the district under command area of ITDA Sundargarh.
“Various initiatives are being implemented by ITDA towards the welfare of tribal farmers. Irrigation is one among the significant programs undertaken by ITDA. The beneficiaries are identified under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and farm ponds and ring wells are dug in beneficiary land. Employment for local villagers is also generated through creation of man days under MGNREGS”, says Project Administrator ITDA Sundargarh, Ramkrishna Gond.
Between FY 2020-21 to FY 2022-23, a total of 47 Farm Ponds have been dug. Similarly, 85 Ring Wells have also been dug in the same period. Farmers apply for Farm Pond and Ring Well through the Gram Sabha. Once the proposal is passed by the Gram Sabha, ITDA officials visit the field to identify potential beneficiaries.
“Earlier, we were hugely dependent on rainwater for cultivation. But now, Farm Pond has been dug in my field. This has greatly lessened our worries regarding cultivation. Using water from the pond, I can now cultivate various vegetables. I sell the produce in the local market and earn a decent income”, shares Dileswar Pradhan, a farmer from Magarkunda village in Lephripara block.
“With support of ITDA Sundargarh, I have dug a Ring Well in my farm. Now, I can easily fetch water for my fields from the well. My irrigation woes have been resolved now”, says Chumki Naik, a woman farmer from Bhagapali village in Subdega block.
Sundargarh farmers engage in various types of vegetable and cash crop cultivation apart from foodgrains. The Farm Ponds and Ring Wells dug in their fields have largely benefited tribal farmers in the district. Additionally, the irrigation programme has also helped to check reducing ground water level while aiding in soil conservation.