Solar pump owner: Ram Nath Chaudhary
District: Saptari
VDC: Malhanma
Command area 0.54 hectares
Current crops Cereal crops & vegetables
Future plans Expansion into cereal production
“Everyone is now able to use the system, so everyone is contributing to the family farm.” - Ram Nath Chaudhary

Ram Nath Chaudhary and his wife have five daughters. The oldest daughter is 22 and the youngest is 7. He invested in a solar powered irrigation pump that is making his farm work considerably easier and the yields larger. The household is made up primarily of women and all of them are actively engaged in agriculture. Everyone supports the family farm and benefited from the installation of the solar irrigation system. 

They were inspired to invest in solar irrigation after realizing that everyone in the house could easily use the system. Before, they had a diesel pump, which was expensive and extremely hard for the women to maintain. The solar pump is now their main source of water because it is very simple and user friendly. With the flip of a switch you can access a reliable source of water for irrigation. Anyone in the family can now help out on the farm when Ram Nath is away or occupied. 

Now that they have a reliable source of water, their production has increased. They are now able to cultivate crops in every part of their land. Before, they couldn’t grow crops in certain sections of their land because they didn’t have enough water for the entire field. Solar irrigation has allowed them to utilize their land to the full extent and cultivate crops all year round. They are now growing sufficient amounts of food for self-consumption for the entire year. 

Since they have had such successful harvests, Ram Nath is hoping to expand into seed production. He hopes their income will increase once they are involved in commercial seed business. He doesn’t want to have his family rely on the market. The Chaudhary family’s dream of becoming self-sufficient and independent is close to becoming a reality. 

Solar irrigation has enabled smallholder farmers to increase their yields and income. It has allowed them to think of expanding their farms and contributed to women empowerment. In some of these rural areas, daughters are not as valued as sons. People think sons can carry out hard labour; sons eventually inherit the family farms. However the Chaudhary family has taken a different approach. The daughters of this household are maintaining and supporting the family’s practices. Not to say that this might change with the birth of a son in the future, but for now solar irrigation has enabled these women to support their family outside of the household. They are able to contribute to household income and actively take part in growing food for themselves. Women are strong and capable farmers, and solar irrigation is helping them realize their full potential.