Andhra Pradesh

A farmer turns adversity into ingenuity by growing veggies

Pioneering effort: Drought is no deterrent for B. Potharaju, a tenant farmer at Peluru.

Pioneering effort: Drought is no deterrent for B. Potharaju, a tenant farmer at Peluru.   | Photo Credit: KommuriSrinivas

In Prakasam district, which is in the grip of drought for the fifth consecutive year, each drop of water is precious

B. Potharaju, a tenant farmer has seen better days of lush green fields growing water-intensive paddy like his fellow farmers in Pelluru village.

That was when the village was receiving bountiful rains both during South-west and North-east monsoons for decades.

Climate change

Thanks to climate change and repeated failure of monsoons, the village tank now has gone bone dry as Prakasam district is in the grip of drought for the fifth year in succession.

Pushed to the wall, this never-say-die spirited farmer, with no means to install micro irrigation system has taken to growing vegetables during rabi without wasting even a drop of water using a network of pipes by drawing water from a drum where water gets collected from a borewell.

His low-cost option is a simple contraption consisting two drums in disuse and ₹ 2,800 for the pipes.

A local plumber charging ₹1,000 had laid a network of pipes connected from the bore well to ensure precious water to each and every plant close to their roots.

His adversity-born ingenuity waters close to 6,000 plants in a three-acre plot.

“Prolonged dry spell has put paid to the hopes of peasants to grow at least rain-fed crops like bengal gram and tobacco leave alone water-intensive crops,” Mr. Potharaju explained to The Hindu.

Farmers here are hoping that at least the North-east monsoon will bring enough rains as the South-west monsoon has played traunt. Even the recent cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’ did not bring enough rains to the fields, rued the farmer, who has now taken to growing hybrid brinjals.

Life-saving irrigation

“I cannot keep quiet like landlords who can afford to miss one crop and make good the losses in the next,” says the farmer who took the land on lease from his friend N. Seshagiri Rao and successfully ensured life-saving irrigation in the last two months.

“I have to still wait for another two months for the harvest,” adds the tenant farmer on a small break in between his dawn-to-dusk work.

In keeping with the new trend, he has also been using only neem-based bio-pesticides, showing the way to fellow farmers.

The road ahead for Mr. Potharaju?

Future plans

“I will convince my landlord to install micro irrigation system during next year,” he adds while giving some tips to groups of farmers who visited his farm to take a cue from him.

While the drip irrigation system costs a whopping ₹1 lakh per hectare, each farmer has to chip in just ₹10,000, with the Government bearing the rest. Some relief that.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 9:53:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/a-farmer-turns-adversity-into-ingenuity-by-growing-veggies/article26219313.ece

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