Pond renovation unlocks year-round farming in BalangirNEWS
By GV News Desk
15 January 2024
HDFC Bank Parivartan’s steadfast support has catalysed the transformation of 10 ponds in Bangomunda, Balangir, and Loisingh blocks in Odisha’s Balangir district. These revitalised water bodies amplify water harvesting and accelerate groundwater rejuvenation. Consequently, adjacent fields will have a steady water supply, unlocking the potential for year-round crop cultivation.
HDFC Bank Parivartan and Gram Vikas came together in January 2022 to launch ‘The Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP)’ in Balangir. Tailored to cater to local needs, this ongoing initiative is set to positively impact approximately 4,660 households across 20 villages.
The district is a rain-fed area, and farmers in this region primarily cultivate paddy during the rainy season. They grow very little the rest of the year due to the unavailability of water. Balangir’s farming community mainly consists of small and marginal farmers, with average landholdings ranging from 0.5 to 5 acres.
With the restoration of these ponds, 73 farmers within the three blocks will enjoy the benefits of year-round water availability. The estimated land around these 10 ponds is nearly 92.50 acres, which will be cultivated not only for paddy but also for vegetables, watermelon, cotton, peanuts, and other crops.
Banamali Mahakur, a farmer from Pratappur village in Balangir block, owns two acres of land on which he cultivates paddy during the rainy season. His farm pond adjacent to his land has been renovated.
Reflecting on this development, he conveys, “The land remained underutilised as I used it only for paddy cultivation, due to the lack of viable irrigation options. The terrain here is dry and rocky. After the renovation of the pond, I hope to cultivate another crop soon after the paddy harvest is over. Nearly eight farmers, whose fields border my pond, will benefit. The rejuvenated pond will help moisture retention in the soil, leading to enhanced yields. I am optimistic about diversifying my crops to include almonds, peanuts, and paddy, to yield greater profits.”
Ugrasen Behera, a farmer from Chindaguda village, says, “My farm pond was only four to five feet deep and nearly buried with debris. It could not hold enough water and easily dried up during summers. I relied solely on rainfall and limited my cultivation to paddy crops. However, after the renovation of my farm pond, the water depth now extends to 12 feet and covers an area of approximately 240 square feet. This enhanced capacity ensures sustained water levels throughout the year, enabling me to increase the crop cycles and production. I, along with fellow farmers with adjacent land holdings, am hopeful about improving our incomes.”
The partnership initiative not only rejuvenates critical water sources but also promises a pivotal impact on farm livelihoods in Balangir. By ensuring year-round water availability, they have unlocked the potential for diversified and intensified agriculture, enabling farmers to transcend traditional farming constraints. As farmers like Banamali Mahakur and Ugrasen Behera testify, the assurance of water security paves the way for enhanced crop yields and the promise of augmented incomes.
Krushna Chandra Dikshit and Pravat Ranjan Jena reported the news. Photographs by Pravat Ranjan Jena.
Farm pond of Kasik Behera.
Photograph by Pravat Ranjan Jena.
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