Solar pump owner: Hira Kumari Mahato
District: Rautahat
VDC: Karkach Karmaiya
Command area 1.52 hectares
Current crops Vegetables
Future plans Expansion of vegetable production
Solar pump installation date April 1st, 2018
“I am now able to better support my family and my children’s education.” - Jitan Mahato (Hira’s Husband)

For the past twenty years, Jitan Mahato has been a subsistence farmer. Previously, he had been a teacher and upon retirement he got more invested in agriculture. From his experience in the classroom Jitan knows the value of education, and right now is trying to support his children in their studies. However, his subsistence farmer’s income did not make this an easy task. Nevertheless he persisted, looking for new ways to improve his farm in order to better provide for his family.

One of his biggest expenses related to his farm had been the use of a 2.5 HP diesel pump. The diesel pump did complete the task of irrigating his land, but it involved constant expenses. Jitan had to repeatedly provide maintenance, labour and transportation to operate the diesel pump. Thus he was spending a large amount of his income on irrigation. If only he could find a cheaper way to irrigate his land that could still provide successful yields. 

Jitan Mahato had heard about a solar powered irrigation system that uses solar energy to pump groundwater. This sounded almost too good to be true. Upon further investigation into the system, he found that not only did the system really work, it also performed excellently with no fuel costs. Solar irrigation was the answer that Jitan had been looking for. He and his wife invested in the system and after installation he has been reaping the benefits. The solar pump and the farmland has been transferred into his wife’s name, because an additional 10% subsidy is offered on land and farm equipment that are in a woman’s name. This provision seeks to empower women through agriculture and make the system more affordable for their families. Jitan spends most of the time operating the pump and maintaining the farm.

The solar pump is not only allowing him to irrigate his land without high fuel or maintenance costs, but he is seeing an influx in production as well as many other benefits. His workload has been drastically reduced since the installation of the solar pump. He no longer has to provide hard labour to simply maintain the pump like he did with the diesel pump. All he has to do is flip a switch and he has a reliable source of water. Before, he was mainly growing summer vegetables. For the most part of the year he was unable to cultivate crops and relied on the market. Now he is on his way to growing enough to feed his family all year round. The reliable access to water has impacted his production and he is now more hopeful about his ability to provide for his family.

His dream is to put his children through school so that they can pursue an occupation they love. Solar irrigation is helping him accomplish this. He has not thought of engaging his children in agriculture because he wants them to forge their own path and find their own career. He would be pleased if one day the farm would be passed down to his children. Until then, Jitan will stay and work to provide for his family and support his children’s studies. This has become much easier since the installation of solar powered irrigation.