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14 Aug 2020 | Indus Basin Initiative

Replication and upscaling in challenging mountain environments

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Solar pump and water-lifting package of technologies solves irrigation problems

Replication and upscaling in challenging mountain environments

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.

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.

Our long-term engagement in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan district has helped a package of water technology solutions to gain traction, resulting in 3139 acres being brought under cultivation in this difficult mountainous terrain.

Our long-term engagement in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan district

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