Solar pump owner: Santi Devi Rajdhobini
District: Saptari
VDC: Kataiya
Picture: Santi Devi and her husband Ram Narayan Rajdhobini
Command area 0.3 hectares
Current crops Vegetable & aquaculture
Future plans Expansion of current crops
“We are successfully cultivating vegetables now that we have access to a sufficient amount of water.” - Shanti Devi Rajdhobini

Shanti Devi has land and a solar powered irrigation system in her name. This allowed her to get the additional 10% subsidy offered to women who have both the farmland and the pump under their name. (Male farmers are given a 60% subsidy). The scheme seeks to empower women farmers as well as make the solar pump more affordable. Her family farm has undergone some major changes since they installed the solar pump. 

Before, the Rajdhobini family relied on a diesel pump for irrigation. Using a diesel pump required hard labour, constant monitoring and expensive fuel, and it was still an unreliable means of obtaining water. For this reason, cultivating their field was a struggle. They were growing paddy, a crop that requires lots of water. While looking for a better method of irrigation, they heard about an irrigation system that could extract groundwater using solar energy. They had heard positive things about the new technology from peope in their community. They were able to contact Sabal Nepal, which answered all their questions and invited them to a promotion and demonstration event for the new system. Shanti’s husband, Ram Narayan, attended the event and was highly impressed with the system. He shared his enthusiasm with his family, and they proceeded to apply for installation of the system. 

Since the installation, they have been getting larger yields of paddy, started growing some vegetables, and have expanded into aquaculture. Ram Narayan attended the vegetable and aquaculture training provided by ICIMOD for solar pump owners. At this training, he learned about the best possible ways to utilize the solar pump. He also learned new techniques for vegetable farming and how to manage an aquafarm. The vegetable seeds that were provided at the training are successfully being cultivated on their farm. All these developments have become possible mainly because solar irrigation has provided them reliable access to water. 

Solar irrigation has enabled the family to adopt new practices and get successful yields from their farm. They have seen increases in production and income, which they have reinvested back into agriculture. Solar irrigation has thus improved both their livelihood and capacity as farmers.