International Energy Initiative,
Asian Regional Energy Initiative,
80-B Spencer Road, 2nd Cross, Fraser Town,
Bangalore 560 005,

+91 80 2555 3375

+91 80 2555 3375



The Asian Regional Energy Initiative of the IEI

Integrating energy conservation practices towards sustainable agriculture: the case of small farms in India

 This project is demonstrating energy conservation and efficient resource use for sustainable agriculture. Its goal is to reduce groundwater extraction, and the need for electricity and chemical fertilizers, that benefit the environment and the state, and simultaneously to enable increased cropping, that benefits the farmers. We have just completed the second (implementation of efficient resource use) phase.

During the past six months, energy-efficient water extraction and conservative water application equipment have been installed, and composting (for natural manure) has been initiated. These improved irrigation and manuring practices are being implemented at a sample of 50 farms located in rural Bengalooru (now called Ramanagara) and Tumakooru districts of Karnataka state.

The improvements that have been implemented [Click here for photographs of the fields] are:-
        improved access to irrigation water for the entire sample of farms, through

a.       replacement of the existing (locally-assembled) submersible water pumps with new certified energy-efficient pumps providing equivalent water discharge (thereby using less energy per unit of water delivered), and

b.      efficient provision of irrigation for those without irrigation facilities (through shared access of adjacent small farms to a deep-well and efficient pump);

        installation of appropriate efficient water-application, to provide smaller amounts of water targeted at the points of requirement (thereby conserving water and the energy for delivering it); these include

a.       drip systems (mainlines, laterals and micro-tube emitters) that have been installed for tree-crops like coconut, mango, banana, guava, sapodilla, and

b.      sprinkler systems (with rotating heads) for small vegetable plants and grain;

        soil enrichment, including

a.       composting of cattle manure and vegetative litter in locations near the crop-fields to generate natural manure, for use during land preparation and cultivation,

b.      inter-cropping with leguminous crops (e.g. beans).


 Initial metering of the new pumps indicates reduction in the connected load and electricity use, in addition to reduction in the hours of pumping through the facilities of sprinklers and drip systems. After the provision of access to irrigation, the farmers dependent on rain-fed farming have been able to sow a new crop during the dry season. Some of the farmers have also opted for different crops that are likely to earn higher returns.

The first (resource-use assessment) stage of the project, completed before the onset of the rainy season, was devoted to measurement of baseline resource-use. During the third (monitoring and evaluation) stage, comparisons could be made between resource-use, before and after improvements were effected.

The main financial support for the project is being provided by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, (Germany) through their 5th round of Sustainable Energy Project Support (