Solar pump owner: Sukhari Devi Shah
District: Saptari
VDC: Siswa Beihi
Command area 0.68 hectares
Current crops Cereal crops & seasonal vegetable
Future plans Expansion of vegetable production
“The system is reliable and easy to use, it makes a world of difference.” - Sukhari Devi Shah

Sukhari owns and operates a solar powered irrigation system. She supports her family of 11 through farming. She has had the system for more than a year and is glad she made the investment. Before she had a solar pump, she relied on canal water and an electric pump. She feared that the canal would dry over time and that she would not have any water for irrigation. She also faced difficulties with the electric pump. The electric pump was extremely unreliable, requiring constant monitoring to make sure a power shortage hadn’t stopped the system. Along with the unreliability, the system was expensive and had a low discharge. These issues have been resolved through the installation of the solar pump. Sukhari also received an additional 10% discount on her solar pump; this discount is offered to women farmers who have the solar irrigation system and the land under her name. 

Sukhari now has easy access to a substantial amount of water for irrigation. Solar irrigation is also incredibly reliable; she doesn’t have to constantly check the system to make sure it is still running. All she has to do is flip a switch – turn it on in the morning and turn it off at night. There is no hard labour involved in maintaining the system, which means she can operate the system independently. Now she can devote time to maintaining the crops or to household chores. Sukhari is an independent female farmer and solar irrigation has helped empower her, as she can maintain the system without anyone’s help. She works the farm alongside the rest of her family members.  Everyone helps in supporting the family farm. The installation of the solar pump has had positive impacts on the Shah family’s livelihood.

Sukhari had been invited to an aquaculture and vegetable training provided by ICIMOD. At the training she learned how to make the best use of her solar pump to grow vegetables and carry out fish farming. She also received some vegetable seeds, which she used to start vegetable production. Before, her family could not cultivate vegetables because they required a lot of water. Their new solar irrigation system has provided them access to plenty of water and enabled them to cultivate vegetables successfully. 

The family’s production has increased since the installation of the solar irrigation system. Sukhari’s daily tasks on the farm have become much easier because the system is reliable and easy to use. Now she is able to devote more time to agriculture and to maintaining the household. Above all solar irrigation has given her the independence to irrigate her land without anyone’s assistance. It has improved her yields, income, and overall livelihood.