Vikasa, an NGO implements a pilot project based on tapping of hill water springs

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) boasts of multiple success stories involving tribal farmers by developing the concept of ‘Maa Thota'. Investing from the Tribal Development Fund (TDF) with Vikasa, an NGO as the project implementing agency, a pilot project based on tapping of hill water springs by lifting water through gravity has been successfully implemented in 30 acres of land covering four tribal hamlets. As part of the project, selected tribal families having land of three-five acres had been identified for support for 5 years. The mandate to cover 2000 tribal families in Araku Valley and Dumbriguda mandals had been given to Vikasa in 2008 by NABARD.

As many as four hill streams: Pimpulguda, Sandivalasa, Kodipunjuvalasa and Tengadavalasa had been identified for drawing water through gravity for irrigating vegetable gardens in 30 acres in four villages in the Araku valley mandal. In collaboration with Andhra Pradesh Minor Irrigation Project (APMIP) drip irrigation was introduced using water drawn from the source through gravity and collected in a sump or a tank constructed relatively at a higher elevation than plots. Collected water in the sump passes through a filtration unit to protect the drip system from choking. Four dippers are provided to each plant and ensured a discharge of eight litres per hour from each dipper.One Maa Thota farmer has 40 mango plants and 37 sapota plants under the core plantation scheme. Arrangements are made based on topography of the area to distribute the water to all the plots.

Cost of pipe materiel and tanks are supported from the grant of TDF and drip irrigation systems are supplied by the APMIP on 100 percent subsidy. Vikasa is engaged in a water resources survey for identifying water sources such as springs, streams, wells and bore-wells for expanding its area of operation under the Maa Thota scheme. Crops including vegetables, fruits and floriculture are giving good returns to the farmers. Out of the 2000 acres being covered under Maa Thota project, 500 acres would be brought under gravity and micro-irrigation project.

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