Solar irrigation saves cost of farmers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 03, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 03, 2019

Solar irrigation saves cost of farmers

BIDS study finds

Farmers can save up to 28 percent of their costs for each bigha of land if they use solar-powered pumps in place of diesel-run ones to irrigate croplands, a study finds.

The conventional irrigation system needs Tk 4,129 for each bigha of boro paddy field, which comes down to Tk 2,946 if solar pumps are used, according to a study of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

The study paper was unveiled yesterday at the two-day BIDS Research Almanac 2019, organised by the research organisation at the Lakeshore Hotel to present findings of various researches.

The solar irrigation system also costs less than the diesel-run method during aman season, according to the study titled “Does renewable energy increase farmers’ well-being? Evidence from solar irrigation interventions in Bangladesh”.

Solar pumps can cover wider areas, said Monzur Hossain, senior research fellow of BIDS and co-author of the study.

He said higher number of farmers opined that solar pumps brought them more water than diesel pumps did.

Solar irrigation also helps reduce carbon emission, he said.

However, BIDS thinks the solar irrigation system needs to be made more cost effective.

Researchers surveyed 1,000 farm households from five divisions mainly from southwest division Khulna and northwest division Rangpur. 

Of the surveyed, half of the farm families irrigate their fields through solar pumps.  

Azreen Karim, BIDS research fellow and co-author of the study, said adoption of solar irrigation pumps is largely driven by sponsor initiatives, village meetings and peer effects.

Sharmind Neelormi, associate professor of Jahangirnagar University, said availability of land to install solar irrigation pumps is an issue.

Two more papers were also presented at the session, chaired by AK Enamul Haque, professor of the Department of Economics at East West University.


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