Khethworks: Increasing Confidence, Cropping Area, and Incomes for Smallholder Women Farmer

April 2022

Kanchan Nayak has been involved in farming for many years. While she has water available throughout the year thanks to a check dam, she used to irrigate her field manually with a watering can and occasionally with the help of a diesel pump. Manual irrigation restricted how much land she could irrigate and cultivate, keeping her from cropping larger plots and engaging in commercial agriculture.

The increasing cost and decreasing availability of fuel nearby her village made the problem worse. Kanchan Di says that the lack of affordable and dependable irrigation facilities led to huge losses and crop failure. She was only able to cultivate vegetables in 3-5 decimals of land, a harvest that was consumed within her household only. She was not able to farm Commercially.

Kanchan Di and few other Didi’s from her village were associated with the self-help group called Radha Krishna Mahila Mandal. The lack of irrigation options was a very common issue for most of the women farmers in the locality, and they were looking for alternate options. The Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (CInI), a nodal agency of the Tata Trusts, introduced them to the portable Khethworks solar water pump. After attending a local demonstration of the Khethworks pump, Kanchan Di decided to buy the product. The mechanisation of her irrigation and the availability of portable solar water pump as opposed to fuel gave Kanchan Nayak enough confidence to expand her cropping area. The first season with the Khethworks pumps, she planted vegetables in 15 decimals, including 1500 saplings of chillies and 500 saplings of bitter gourd. She was able to sell her harvest in the local market and earned Rs17,000 in that season.

Kanchan Nayak says that the Khethworks pump has reduced her dependency on the male members of the family to do irrigation thanks to the portability and ease-of-use of the pump. This has also motivated other male and women farmers from the community to opt for the Khethworks solar pump.

The positive result from the farming last season gave Kanchan Nayak further confidence to increase her cropping area as well as the number of crops this season. She has doubled her area of cultivation to 30 decimals and is growing 600 saplings of bitter gourd, 500 saplings of brinjal, 200 saplings of pointed gourd and 200 saplings of Malabar spinach. She expects her earnings to increase at least 2 times this season.

Khethworks is one of the finalist of Cisco Agri Challenge. Founded by Victor Lesniewsky and Katie Taylor, Khethworks builds affordable and reliable solar-powered irrigation systems that enable our customers to farm year-round. To know more about the other finalists, click here.