Solar pump owner: Bina Devi Mahato
District: Rautahat
VDC: Bhasedwa
Command area 1.52 hectares
Current crops Vegetables & aquaculture
Future plans More diverse vegetables, aquaculture land expansion
Solar pump installation date May 28th, 2018
“Our production has increased and our practices have improved.” – Bina Devi Mahato

Bina Devi Mahato had a solar-powered irrigation system installed six months ago. Its effects are noticeable throughout the village. Her family has been farming for generations and is completely dependent on the harvests they produce. As farming is their only occupation, obtaining successful yields is crucial for their livelihood.

Bina Devi Mahato’s family first encountered the solar irrigation system at the promotion event in Rautahat. The system had been installed in their farm as a demonstration site.  They got inspired by the new technology and wanted to give it a try. The family had spoken with others who already had the system installed and got first-hand knowledge about its usefulness. Everyone gave them positive feedback about the system. Previously the family owned a diesel pump. Diesel pumps are notorious for being labour intensive and expensive. One of the most attractive features of solar irrigation is that it provides easy and reliable access to clean water. All it takes is the flip of a switch. No hard labour, no diesel costs, no transportation cost. The family saw investing in solar irrigation as a one-time expense. Instead of constantly having to feed money into a system for fuel or maintenance, they can simply invest once and reap the benefits all year round. 

Now that the family has plenty of clean, reliable water they are planning to expand their practices.  Before, their main crop was paddy, yielding around 37 kg during the monsoon season. Their income has been enough to sustain themselves all year round, but they want to grow higher value crops such as vegetables. Now with solar irrigation they feel confident to try their hand at vegetable farming. They are also interested in expanding their farm that currently has 2 aquaculture ponds and 1.69 hectares of land. Along with their new vegetable practices, they want to shift towards commercial farming. Earlier, they were concerned as to how they would irrigate the land upon expansion; now that is not an issue. 

The family members collectively manage the farm, though Bina Devi Mahato’s brother spends most of the time working on it. The land and the solar pump are under Bina Devi’s name. The SPIP scheme offers a 70% subsidy to farmers if the land is under a woman’s name; a 60% subsidy is offered to all male farmers, and the additional 10% is given to females as an incentive to empower women through agriculture. Bina Devi’s children help out on the farm and are interested in pursuing agriculture. They have been using farming methods that have been passed down through generations. The adoption of new technology like solar irrigation has allowed them to put a modern twist on their traditional practice. The family is excited by the new technology and eager to explore other modern practices. Solar technology is new, modern and very beneficial, and a source of inspiration for Bina Devi’s family and others in the village. People in the community come to watch the new technology that produces water from the sun. Others ask many of the same questions that the Devi family had when they first came across the system. People in the area recognize the benefits of this solar innovation and are just as eager to adopt it.