WENR23 Adaptive Irrigation Model for Small Farmers

Aanleiding van het project

Climate change is impacting global rainfall patterns and as a result, productivity of rainfed agriculture around the world is increasingly being affected largely due to frequent dry-spells and droughts. Sustainability and productivity of agriculture in irrigated areas is also under threat in key agricultural belts around the world due to depletion of groundwater reserves.

Regulated deficit irrigation (or deficit irrigation as it is widely referred) can be used for enhancing water use efficiency as well as enhancing crop productivity per unit of irrigation water applied and is thereby an adaptive water management practice. Under scarce water supply and drought conditions, deficit irrigation can lead to greater economic gains for farmers instead of losses being incurred due to drought and dry spells. However, this approach requires precise knowledge of crop response to water as drought tolerance varies considerably by species, cultivar and stage of growth. (Deficit Irrigation Practices, FAO, 1996).

“Hose reel irrigation system” is an appropriate technology by which regulated deficit irrigation can be administered at farmers’ fields. However, its utilization and large scale adoption by small and marginal farmers in drought prone areas is constrained by the lack of their affordability of this technology. A custom-hireable service model of irrigation can substantially bring down the operational cost for a farmer. However, the cost benefit and climate impact (in terms of water conserved) by adopting this innovative business model has to scientifically proved and verified. This research cannot be carried out by modelling or under laboratory conditions, as the research has to include all aspects of actual agricultural practises, fertilizer application, interaction between farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs, investments and operation and maintenance costs and actual hydrological and meteorological aspects throughout a growing season. the field. Project A

Doel van het project

The main purpose of the project AIMS is to scientifically proof and quantify the environmental benefits ans cost benefits (to both farmer entrepreneurs owning the machine as well as farmers going for deficit irrigation using the smart irrigation model) and draw up recommendation to facilitate scale up across dryland field crops in India, Europe and Africa.

Omschrijving van de activiteiten

Verwachte resultaten

Innovativiteit

The custom-hireable service model has not been standardized or adopted in any geography across the world. The technical prototype of this model was developed by Wageningen Environment Research as a collaborative project in India between 2014 to 2016. However, the scientific basis on the accruable benefits of adopting this technology is yet to be established.
Also, the combination of foliar sprays of micronutrients in dryland crops is widely recommended by extension agents. However, there is no affordable technology for small and medium farmers to facilitate this.

Project AIMS will generate a “first of its kind” scientific content and evidence on both the above aspects.

Valorisatie