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The Role of Farm Ponds in Enhancing Rural Livelihoods

The Deshpande Foundation, in collaboration with Rang De, has embarked on an ambitious and transformative journey to revolutionise farming in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu through the installation of farm ponds. This initiative is not just about water conservation; it's a comprehensive approach to enhancing farmers' lives and livelihoods. Let's take a closer look at the variables in play.


The Farm Ponds program is designed to tackle critical issues faced by farmers, such as climate variability, lack of water storage, and crop failure. By constructing farm ponds of varying sizes based on the unique needs of each farm, the program offers a tailored solution irrespective of land size. The farm pond is built depending on the landholding of the farmers and is sufficient enough to irrigate the farm 2-3 times within a crop cycle.


construction of farm pond

Diversifying Crop Production

Farmers, with the aid of farm ponds, are now growing cash crops and short-duration vegetables. Farmers grow paddy, green gram, red gram, maize and cotton. This diversification not only increases profitability but also enhances food security and nutrition in the community.

In 2020, the program began implementing a financial model in collaboration with government and banking institutions. This model has led to the construction of 1,183 farm ponds and the formation of 329 Joint Liability Groups, engaging farmers more actively in the program.


Significant Impact:

The Farm Ponds initiative has had a profound impact, with over 7,000 farm ponds constructed. This has resulted in a 64% increase in income for over 75% of participating farmers, a 40% increase in farm profits during the Rabi season, and a 14.5% rise in crop productivity. Additionally, the initiative has generated an extra 75 days of employment and improved the creditworthiness of farmers.


Newly dug farm pond

Unique Offerings and Approaches:


  • Addresses Water Scarcity: Each farm pond irrigates 4-5 acres of land, effectively combating water scarcity.

  • Supports Multiple Cropping: Enables farmers to cultivate crops even during the Rabi (winter) season.

  • Sustainable Infrastructure: These ponds have a lifespan of over 7 years, ensuring long-term benefits.

  • Innovative Business Model: The program involves farmer contributions and works closely with Gram Panchayats for effective implementation.

  • Technology Integration: Leveraging AI, ML, and geospatial analytics, the program ensures optimal site selection and efficient monitoring and evaluation through the Rural Transformation Technology Centre (RTTC).

Technology for Scaling

Technological solutions are integral at all stages, from site selection and construction to impact assessment and geo-tagging. The RTTC plays a pivotal role in streamlining operational management using satellite imagery, providing near real-time visibility of on-ground situations.


Empowering farmers with data on soil moisture, cropping patterns, weather, and hydrology, the program ensures farmers are well-informed and can make the best decisions for their crops.The success and benefits of farm ponds have made this initiative a demand-driven program among farmers, demonstrating the practical and economic benefits of sustainable farming practices.


farm pond filled with water

Rang De's Pivotal Role In Building Farm Ponds

Rang De's involvement in this initiative is crucial, providing the necessary credit for the installation of farm ponds. This partnership alleviates the financial burden on farmers, making the project more accessible and beneficial. More so, the loans procured from banks were cumbersome and time consuming. Loan disbursals would take significant amounts of time and delay the progress of the project. With 2059 Rang De Social Investors, a total of 469 loans amounting to ₹1.18 crores has been disbursed to farmers in Karnataka and Telangana.

The journey of the Farm Pond Project, powered by the Deshpande Foundation and Rang De, is one of hope, transformation, and sustainability. It's a commitment to not just the environment but to the economic and social upliftment of farming communities in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.


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3 Comments


Guest
Feb 17

Leslin, you need energy to pump stored water or it flows by gravity??

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Great post as always, Mr Seemon.

A question, can the ponds be also used to raise fish while using the water for crops?

Also, where does the water come from? Ground water, which is not a good idea? Or nearby river? Or rain harvesting?

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Replying to

Hey Meenal Ji, Yes, quite a few farmers use the ponds to raise fish. The water comes from rain water harvesting.

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