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

Telephone:
+91 80 2555 3375

Fax:
+91 80 2555 3375

E-mail:
ieiblr@vsnl.com

 

The Asian Regional Energy Initiative of the IEI

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

As reported in our last newsletter, IEIís Asian Regional Initiative in Bangalore has begun a field project on energy conservation practices for sustainable agriculture, financially supported by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, (Germany) through their 5th round of Sustainable Energy Project Support (http://wisions.net/pages/SEPS_Projects.php).

The project objective is to demonstrate improvement in the efficiency of agricultural energy-resource use in densely-populated agrarian communities, integrating benefits for the rural folk, the utilities, and the environment, and to suggest policies through which such efficient energy-resource use can be propagated.  About 50% of all operational farms in India are less than 1 hectare in size, and most of these do not use machinery.  Our focus is therefore on these small farms and their main energy-based inputs Ė water and fertilizers.

The first stage of the project has been devoted to assessment of baseline resource-use, so that comparisons can be made after efficiency improvements are effected.  The 50 small farms selected for the demonstration are located in rural Bengalooru (now called Ramanagara) and Tumakooru districts of Karnataka state.  They are currently cultivating fruit, vegetables and subsistence grain. [Click here for photographs]  Information on the cropping patterns, sources of water and irrigation frequency, and use of fertilizers, has been collected through a questionnaire.  However, the use of energy by the electrified irrigation pumps in the sample was actually measured; electronic energy meters were installed and readings recorded periodically. [Click here for photographs]

We are now working on improving the efficiency with which water and fertilizer are used.  Irrigation efficiency will be improved by replacing the existing pumping devices with more efficient pumps, introducing shared access to efficiently-pumped water supply for those without electrified bore-wells, and also introducing efficient application (through sprinklers and/or drip systems).  Simultaneously, longer-term soil improvement will be brought about through natural means.