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Solar pump and water-lifting package of technologies solves irrigation problems
Replication and upscaling of innovation starts with good ideas but requires traction among users and policy-makers. Our long-term engagement in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan has helped a package of water technology solutions to gain traction, resulting in 3139 acres being brought under cultivation in this difficult mountainous terrain. The technology package was demonstrated through annual policy roundtables and exposure visits for decision and policy makers, as well as farmer field days and hands-on trainings.
In Nepal, there are around 1,000 brick kilns burning more than 400,000 tonnes of coal each year. After the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, which damaged more than 99% of kilns in the Kathmandu Valley, ICIMOD demonstrated alternative brick production techniques with environmental, health, and economic benefits. This was done through a multi-stakeholder partnership consisting of engineers and scientists, brick kiln entrepreneurs, and development partners.
Nearly 95% of farmers in this region depend on glacial melt and spring water availability. Traditional irrigation channels were not maintained and half of the arable land has been left barren due to difficulties in irrigation. While solar pumping and high efficiency irrigation systems are prevalent in plain areas, they had not been tested in mountain areas until our pilots with our partners. A package of water technologies including hydroram and solar pump and drip irrigation systems were successfully piloted in the relatively more accessible villages of Gojal, and subsequently upscaled to other districts in Gilgit-Baltistan, making more irrigation of barren lands possible in northern areas of Pakistan.
The interventions have included participation and leadership from women farmers who have been active decision makers in terms of crop cultivation and marketing. For many of the women involved, the income generated has contributed to their financial independence. With the increased agricultural productivity, the agriculture livelihood base for local communities has increased while also building community resilience. The federal government has now approved a project to upscale the interventions to all ten districts of Gilgit Baltistan which will bring 3000 acres of barren land under irrigation.
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