Solar pump owner: Bhikhan Chaudhary
District: Saptari
VDC: Dhanagadi
Command area 0.25 hectares
Current crops Aquaculture & cereal crops
Future plans Expansion of aquaculture
“I am confident that our farm will continue to achieve success in the future.” - Bhikhan Chaudhary

Bhikhan is a commercial cereal and aquaculture farmer. He installed solar irrigation when he first started getting involved in aquaculture. His family has been engaged in cereal crop farming for generations. However, cereal crops are no longer producing the same income that they once did. Bhikhan knew he needed to find a solution in order to provide for this family. His neighbour had gotten involved in aquaculture and seen a great deal of success. Bhikhan had learned many new aquaculture techniques from his neighbour, which inspired him to try his own hand at fish farming. 

Before he could embark on his new endeavour, he needed to find better and more reliable access to large amounts of water. He had heard fellow villagers talking about a revolutionary irrigation system that used solar energy to pump groundwater for irrigation. He asked around and came into contact with the NGO Sabal Nepal, which provided him all the information about solar irrigation, invited him to a promotion and demonstration event, and answered his questions. Bhikhan was impressed with the new technology. He felt that it was precisely the kind of system he needed to start his fish farming business. He later invested in the system, and Sabal Nepal assisted with the installation. 

After he installed the system he was invited to an aquaculture and vegetable training provided by ICIMOD. His brother attended in his place and later shared the information with Bhikhan, who used it when he started aquaculture. Bhikhan started aquaculture mainly to increase his income, but he had not expected that the impact of solar irrigation would go far beyond that.

Before, Bhikhan relied on an electric pump and a diesel pump to provide the necessary water for his cereal crops. Both systems were expensive and unreliable. They constantly needed maintenance, had high operational costs and were very difficult to operate. He knew he could not rely on those systems to start a fish farm. The solar pump, however, is a one-time investment. The system requires no fuel and is easy to use. His wife often operates the system. He has been able to save money since he switched to solar powered irrigatio. With reliable access to water, he is producing enough cereal crops to feed his family all year round. 

As he has access to plenty of water, Bhikhan is hoping to expand his aquaculture farm in the future. He expects that this expansion will yield higher profits even if he has to make an initial investment in digging the pond. He is confident about the future of his farm. He has obtained all the required tools and training to ensure the success of his fish farm. Having expanded from subsistence cereal crop farm to commercial aquaculture, the family is excited about their future possibilities, mainly thanks to solar irrigation.