Gaddasam village in Dattirajeru mandal of Vizianagaram district has six irrigation tanks that together with a couple of tube wells and open wells provide water for the agricultural lands. The total area under cultivation is 1580 acres for kharif and rabi crops and 240 acres for horticulture crops. 0f the total population of 2695 in the village, 90 per cent belongs to backward class (BCs), eight percent are Scheduled Caste (SCs) and the remaining two percent are Scheduled Tribes (STs). But the lands owned by the STs have no source of irrigation water and the crops are rain dependent and rainfall is scarce in the region. Moreover, deficit rainfall had led to severe depletion of groundwater. Under MGNREGS, farm ponds with a total capacity of 5.2 crore litres were constructed in the region which is now helping farmers from all communities to cultivate in all seasons.
In Gaddasam village, 207 farmers responded to the call given by the Government to construct farm ponds on their farms in 2017 to harvest rain water, recharge groundwater and increase moisture in the soil for better yield. In the Gram Sabha, the BCs were given 189 farm ponds followed by 15 for the SCs and three for the STs. Together, these had the storage capacity of 5.2 crore liters of rain water.
The villagers will now go from water deficit to surplus with the help of these farm ponds. They have taken up more water harvesting structures and the Gram Sabha is being utilized as a forum to create awareness amongst the people in identifying the beneficiaries, executing the work and storing water for crops and ground water recharge.
VOICES FROM THE FIELD
“The farm ponds have increased the ground water level keeping the moisture in the soil. This moisture keeps the crops be healthy and gives a greater yield.” – Singavarapu, a farmer.
“Mango plantations are growing faster because of the moisture in the soil which has increased due to the presence of water in the farm ponds,” Neteti Narayanappadu, a farmer.