The Deshpande Foundation, a non-profit organisation, has initiated a farm pond project in partnership with Rang De which is aimed at transforming agriculture in dry and arid regions.
The project involves the construction of farm ponds that serve as reservoirs for rainwater, thus providing a reliable source of water for irrigation during the dry seasons. The 4 districts of Karnataka (Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri and Belgaum) and 2 districts of Telangana (Siddipet, Nalgonda) have suffered continuous drought in the recent past, resulting in severe rural distress.
These regions are heavily dependent on rain-fed farming, which is unreliable due to the scanty and unpredictable rainfall. This, coupled with low groundwater levels, has made farming a risky and often unprofitable venture for the local farmers. However, a ray of hope has emerged for these farmers in the form of the Deshpande Foundation's farm pond project.
Economic Impact on Farmers
The farm pond project has a significant economic impact on the farmers. By providing a reliable source of water for irrigation, the project enables farmers to increase their crop cycles, leading to increased crop production and profitability. This not only improves the farmers' income but also contributes to food security in the region.
Farm ponds are designed to enable farmers to cultivate 2-3 crop cycles annually and have a lifespan of up to 7 years. The installation of these farm ponds requires an initial investment ranging from 20,000 to 60,000 INR with the costs varying based on the size of the pond and landholding.
These farm ponds serve as a reliable source of water, allowing farmers to significantly increase their crop production. This abundant availability of water, coupled with the provision of high-quality seeds, fertilisers, and guidance on crop types by the Deshpande Foundation, leads to a substantial increase in farmers' profitability. In fact, farmers have reported a 40- 60% increase in profits annually due to the enhanced productivity facilitated by these farm ponds.
Installation of Farm Ponds
The installation of these farm ponds involves a meticulous process that begins with the selection of suitable locations for the ponds. This is done using satellite imagery, which helps in identifying areas that would provide maximum water collection and retention. The use of this advanced technology ensures that the ponds are constructed in locations that will provide the most benefit to the farmers.
How Rang De social investors are enabling farm ponds
Rang De’s peer-to-peer lending platform is playing a crucial role in facilitating the farm pond project. Under the Farm Pond Fund on the platform, social investors can invest any amount. These funds will be disbursed as loans to build farm ponds, depending on the land holdings of the borrowers.
As of 31 July, 2023, the Farm Pond Fund has raised Rs.21 lakhs in investments from 372 social investors. These funds have been disbursed to 47 farmers.
Once the farm ponds are installed, they open up avenues for horticulture, fisheries and multiple crop cycles in a year.
The Deshpande Foundation's farm pond project is a transformative initiative that is changing the face of agriculture in the arid regions of Karnataka and Telangana. By addressing the critical challenges of low groundwater levels and scanty rainfall, the project is not only improving agricultural productivity but also enhancing the economic wellbeing of the local farmers.
The role of Rang De loans in facilitating the project underscores the importance of social investment in driving change in low-income communities.
If you want to enable a farm pond in rural India, invest in the Farm Pond Fund at https://rangde.in/farm-pond and join 8000+ social investors from around the world who are investing in fellow Indians.