Vegetables available from market are not fresh and organic. Also, the
cost of vegetables are high during off seasons. The shrinkage of land
and acute water shortage are the other problems faced by farmers of
Thiruvananthapuram district. Per capita land holdings in Kerala is less
than 0.01ha i.e., farming is carried out by small and marginal farmers.
Added to it, the need for having fresh produce have prompted people to
utilize their terraces for cultivation using grows bags. More than
18,000 terrace gardens have been promoted since 2016 though such farming
initiatives lack supervision and guidance particularly in field of
irrigation. Consequently, during summer, plants face severe drought
leading to plant wilting. The closure of stomata is the first indication
of plant water stress. This is followed by the plant wilting and finally
damage of the plant through overheating lading to crop loss. It is here
that automatic drip irrigation helps to a great extent.
As a flagship programme, Kerala Mitraniktan KVK first introduced and
initiated the Automatic DIS in Thiruvananthapuram corporations with an
aim of more crops per drop. Starting from 2014 to 2018, KVK implemented
the technology in almost all over Thiruvananthapuram. Front Line
Demonstrations were carried out, by KVK, and as a part of Project
funded by Kerala State Planning Board and Kerala Irrigation
Infrastructure Development Corporation thousands of units had been
installed in roof top vegetable gardens.
Automatic low cost drip irrigation system includes, among others, the
drip kit, booster pump and timer. Total cost for the entire system come
around Rs.3650/-.This low cost technology attracted people in urban and
semi-urban areas to adopt the technology for roof top vegetable
A convenient option in a drip irrigation system is an automatic timer.
Battery powered timers let us set the frequency and duration of
watering, and allows setting different watering schedules for different
plants. With automatic shut-off, one need not be available at close
proximity to shut off the system. Up to eight schedules can be set in
the timer for the entire wek. Timer out must be connected to switch
board and timer in to the pump.
0.2hp submersible pump is used to pump water from the tank to the
laterals. Pump is needed when the tank is kept on the level of the
terrace itself. Minimum pressure of 1 kg/cm2 is required to
obtain the desired discharge. If the tank is above the ground level, at
a height of more than 2m, water directly flows by gravity. Connect 16mm
lateral to pump to obtain the sufficient pressure.
Drip kit consists of 16mm LLDPE lateral, dripper / emitter (4 LPH),
stake 4 way assembly with micro tube, screen filter, fittings and
accessories. Sixty numbers of poly bag can be irrigated by using this
drip kit having a discharge rate of 1LPH / Poly bag. Screen filter,
filter the water efficiently @ 700 litre per hour. Drip kit will last
for more than two years without any damage.
This being an automated system, efficient use was made by urban farmers.
Most of the farmers are retired hands over the age of sixty. Hence the
automatic system reduced drudgery and increased the horizontal spread of
the technology. More over 1000 units had been implemented in
Thiruvananthapuram. KVK as a part of extension work; published popular
articles in “Kerala Karshakan” and “Karshakashree” – Monthly
Agricultural Information magazines. KVK distributed extension literature
to farmers while conducting training programmes .During ATMA monthly
technology meetings, lectures were delivered to extension functionaries
for the extra support to local farmers. Malayala Manorama documented
the field work and telecasted the same in “Nattupacha” – agricultural
information programme in Malayalam. Thr feedback from the farmers were
Reduction in water use by
increase in yields by 25
Reduction in additional
costs like fertilizers, labour, tilling and weeding.
Drip irrigation thus saves about 30-70 percent of water compared to
flood irrigation and at the same time; appropriate application of
fertilizer and other inputs in combination with drip system of
irrigation have the potential to raise land productivity by 100 percent.
This will also economize use of fertilizer by about 30-40 percent.
Additional advantages of drip irrigation include reduction in weed
growth, better quality yield, less labour requirement, less electric
power consumption, early maturity of crops and applicability even with
the use of mildly