Karnataka is among the top three sugarcane producers in the country next only to Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Sugarcane is cultivated on nearly 5.2 lakh hectares of land in Karnataka. There are more than 5 lakh sugarcane cultivators in the State and about 30 per cent of them are following the drip irrigation method. The Karnataka State Sugarcane Growers’ Association has started a drive to promote drip irrigation among its members for water conservation and to increase crop yield.
It is a well-known fact that sugarcane is a water-intensive crop, and in view of the prevailing water stress in Karnataka which may recur in future, the association plans to highlight the benefits of drip irrigation to gear up for the water stress.
The quantum of water saved through drip irrigation, is nearly 40 per cent compared with the conventional method, and the crop yield can also be increased by 50 per cent. Drip irrigation requires at least 90 cm of spacing between two rows during planting, so farmers could go for inter- cropping with short-duration crop. Inter-cropping will not only add to the soil fertility but their income also.
So the state is all set to fix the drought situation, drip by drip.