Solar pump owner: Biswa Nath Shah
District: Saptari
VDC: Haripur
Command area 2.03 hectares
Current crops Aquaculture, cereal crops & vegetables
Future plans Expansion of current crops
“We now have a private and reliable source of water.” - Yogendra Nath Shah (Biswa’s brother)

Bishwa Nath has land and a solar irrigation pump in his name.  Bishwa Nath is a member of an extended family comprising 22 people. His brother spend a lot of time working on the family farm. His brother, Yogendra, attributes the remarkable success of their family farm to the solar irrigation system.

The Shah family has been farming for generations, following practices handed down through generations. They have been engaged in cereal crop farming and aquaculture for many years, but after installing the solar powered system, they have been able to expand into other areas and adopt new farming techniques. They used to rely solely on rainwater for irrigation. This resulted in the uncertainty of crop yields, especially in the summer months when rain is unpredictable. Their village had built a deep borewell for community use. This was a more reliable source for irrigation, but the entire community relied on it. Also, the borewell needed electricity to pump water and users had to pay electricity bills. All in all, the borewell was far from an ideal option for irrigating their field. 

As they were looking for better options, a social mobilizer told them about an irrigation system that used solar energy to extract groundwater for irrigation. This sounded almost too good to be true. The brothers attended a promotion event of the new irrigation system. After witnessing the system in full swing, they were completely on board. Finally, here was a system that could efficiently provide a reliable source of water, and with no operational costs. The family contacted the NGO Sabal Nepal for more information and guidance on how to install the system. 

The Shah family now has a reliable source of water and can irrigate their land all year long. This is especially beneficial during the summer months. Unlike the borewell, the solar irrigation system belongs to them, and they can use it for as long as they need it. As it doesn’t require fuel, the family is saving money on electricity bills. 

The family is now able to grow vegetables while also cultivating cereal crops and engaging in aquaculture. Vegetable farming requires more water than other crops. Before, they did not have enough water for vegetable farming, but now solar irrigation provides plenty of water and they can easily grow vegetables. Both brothers attended the vegetable and aquaculture training provided by ICIMOD. They have used what they learned during the training to improve their cultivation methods. They are also utilizing the vegetable seeds provided during the training on their farm. They are optimistic about the future of their farm and their ability to grow vegetables. 

The Shah family has been practicing aquaculture for the past 12 years. After attending the training, the brothers have big plans for the expansion of their fish farm. Having gained new information and learned new techniques, they are eager to expand and add another pond. Solar irrigation can provide them the water they need for expansion and they hope that the increase in production will help raise the living standard of their large family. They have already seen an increase in their crop production. They have more than enough food to feed their family all year long. They often share the extra produce with their neighbours. As they live in a small village with a small market, there is not much profit to be made from selling their extra produce. Solar irrigation has not only benefited the Shah family, it has also had positive effects throughout the community.