SC,ST farmers in several mandals in the district are opting for solar pump sets to enjoy uninterrupted power for seven hours at a stretch for their horticulture and vegetable plantations, thanks to the Rural Development Trust (RDT) which is giving a huge fillip to solar energy.Farmers unable to purchase pump sets or go in for borewells on their own, are being encouraged to form small groups for water-sharing.The RDT is not only digging community borewells but also encouraging farmers to come together and form groups of four and five and share the water resources by implementing drip irrigation.
The groundwater level today is not what it used to be in the 1980s.Back then, it was enough for a borewell to be sunk up to 15-20 metres for an abundant source of water, but today, one needs to dig to at least 400 metres to find any trace of water at all. The RDT is promoting horticulture plantation with a view to increase the green cover in villages to 33 per cent of the given geographical area.Horticulture and solar pump sets are being actively promoted in the mandals of Nallamada, Amadagur, Obuladeva Cheruvu, Kadiri, Kanakallu, Talupula, Mudigubba, Bukkapatnam, Kothacheruvu, Chennekothapalle, Gooty, Rayadurgam, Kanekal, Kuderu, Uravakonda, Penukonda, Amarapuram, Kalyandurg, Setturu and Kundurpi.
Around 530 solar pump sets have been installed so far. Four farmers are benefited by one solar pump set. Thanks to the efforts of the RDT, community farming is turning out to be a really successful endeavour.The RDT is also promoting mango, guava, custard apple, sapota, black -berries, coconut plantations and curry leaves apart from vegetable plantations to enable the farmers to sustain themselves during the horticulture crop-gestation period. The target is 3.64 lakh horticulture plantations for the financial year 2016-17.It is paying Rs 45,000 out of the Rs 55,000 beneficiary contribution that should be paid to New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh.
For OCs and BCs, the RDT is paying Rs 25,000 out of the Rs 55,000 beneficiary contribution. The beneficiaries have to pay Rs 30,000 as their share for the solar pump set.Assistant Director of RDT Ecology Centre Satyanarayana told The Hans India that milch animals are also being given to each farmer family as part of an integrated plan to provide economic boost to farmers as well as for producing organic manure. Every day 8 to 10 litres of milk and income on vegetables come to the rescue of the farmers until they get handsome returns on their horticulture crops.