The earliest reference to irrigation in India is in the Rig Veda: an Ancient Indian Sacred collection of Sanskrit hymns, estimated to have been composed between 1500 – 1200 B.C. Citations mention a well-styled irrigation system that was always full of water. Throughout ages, irrigation has played a substantial role in the economy of Indian kingdoms. In the 19th century India was hit by a series of major famines, and key canal projects were built to survive the drought, many of which are still in use today.
India is blessed with abundant ground and surface water resources, and today irrigation in India is comprised of a network of canals from rivers, groundwater wells, tanks and other rainwater harvesting projects. Around two-thirds of cultivated land in India relies on monsoons, and the total arable land in India is 160 million hectares (395 million acres).
Efficient water management is of critical importance to Indian agriculture, but, due to various physiographic conditions, legal constraints, insufficient water development technology and traditional/conservative management, the current utilizable water for irrigation is very limited. Amazingly, a majority of Indian farmers today still irrigate the way their ancestors did, by flooding their fields or running water through channels between rows of crop. And often only less than half the water applied to the field actually benefits the crop. An urgent correction effort is desperately required to stop wasting water and conserve it for generations to come.
The demand for water for irrigation is steeply rising due to the intensive population growth in India. If India takes a much larger leap into cooperative farming, the irrigation sector should adapt the latest technology available. In such a case, Valmont® Irrigation could play a key role by installing irrigation machines in various parts of India.
When measured by 2025, it would be great to see Valley® center pivots or linears irrigating 50,000 hectares in India.
Progressive drivers for the penetration of Valmont Irrigation in the market in India are population growth, food scarcity, shortage of water and reducing the carbon footprint. Valmont Irrigation can help conserve resources and improve life, as Valley center pivots help save energy, costs and water, and increase crop yield by 30 to 50 percent for India’s ever growing enormous population.
- New Ag International: The World’s leading publication on High Tech Agriculture, March/April 2015