Farmer’s tenacity brings dying plants to life

Farmer’s tenacity brings dying plants to life
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Highlights

More than 7,000 pomegranate plants spread in 36 acres of land owned by Papi Reddy in Beluguppa village near Kalyandurgam mandal planted in the year 2015 were withering to death. Erratic monsoon playing truant with farmers and persisting drought conditions were taking a toll of horticulture plantations in the district.

Beluguppa (Anantapur): More than 7,000 pomegranate plants spread in 36 acres of land owned by Papi Reddy in Beluguppa village near Kalyandurgam mandal planted in the year 2015 were withering to death. Erratic monsoon playing truant with farmers and persisting drought conditions were taking a toll of horticulture plantations in the district.

At a time when all farmers were giving up with a sense of resignation, the pomegranate plants which are on the verge of death and the family members of Papi Reddy advised the later to pluck off all the withered plants. But, on December 1st, 2016 he examined his 3 dried up bore-wells and to his pleasant surprise found the wells yielding some water. Assuming his plantation already dead, he released water to his plantation.

The water revived the irrigated plants and the plants started blooming. Encouraged at the sign of life found in the plantation, he dug a farm pond on a war footing and started operating the bore-wells to fill his farm pond with water after covering the soil with a plastic sheet to prevent water sinking into the ground.

He extracted 15 lakh litres of water from the three bore-wells and began to irrigate that was supposedly dead plants in the midst of co-farmers making sarcastic comments that he was irrigating withered and dead plantation. Undeterred, he went ahead with his life-saving irrigation programme that he wouldn’t lose anything even if the plants did not survive. His joy knew no bounds when he found all the pomegranate plants coming back to life and blooming afresh.

Papi Reddy told The Hans India that when life saving irrigation was given to some plants on an experimental basis in October 2016, the plants showed signs of life. “I was overwhelmed with joy and I decided to do everything possible to bring back to life what was believed to be in a state of coma. Subsequently, I had taken steps to dig a 20 feet farm pond in February 2017,” he explained.

When groundwater personnel checked the state of three dried up bores, they found 2 inches water present in the three bores. Papireddy immediately took steps to fill the farm pond with 15 lakh litres of water which the bores yielded. After a couple of weeks, the farm pond water exhausted and suddenly he was once again on the cross roads not knowing what to do as the plantation started blooming.

“It was as if I was stranded on the middle of the sea. I wasted no time in procuring a second hand water tanker and began to pump water into the tanker from Jeedipalle reservoir which is 6 km away from Beluguppa. The tanker capacity was 22,000 litres. Every day, the tanker made five trips to get 1 lakh litres of water to irrigate 36 acres of land. Thus, the plantation passed from death to life,” stated, a beaming Papi Reddy.

With a glitter on his face, Reddy said that his plantation will now live for another 15-20 years and he could get permanent income on the pomegranate plantation. If one saw the withered plants nobody would believe that they could be resurrected. Now the plantation is once again teeming with life and green everywhere. Reddy said that he invested Rs 10 lakh on something that was written off as dead and today he could confidently say that he will get back his investment in just one harvest.

APMIC Assistant project director Chandrasekhar interacting with The Hans India said that Papi Reddy's success story went viral and many are thronging to his plantation to see what is being described as a miracle resurrection of withered plantation.

Papi Reddy, however, regretted that the Agriculture Minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy's announcement of bearing 80 per cent of water transportation costs for extending life saving irrigation to the withering horticulture plantations in the district remained as a mere announcement as the horticulture officials expressed helplessness to do anything in this regard as no GO was issued to back-up the announcement.

While the urgent announcement was aimed at providing life saving irrigation to dying plantations, the Minister's lethargy in taking it further has resulted in thousands of acres of horticulture plantations withering and its ultimate fate hanging in the balance. Chandrasekhar admitted that no GO was issued regarding extending 80 percent subsidy for water transportation and disappointed farmers are not coming forward to hire water tankers and save their plantation.

By Ravi P Benjamin

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