TN farmers have crafty fixes to beat drought

June 8, 2017 0 Comments

By Catherine Gilon

In late 2015, Chennai and most of Tamil Nadu battled unprecedented rains and floods. Two years later, the state is fighting the most intense drought it has faced in 140 years. There are reports of increasing farmer suicides in the state. Some even held a series of protests in the capital demanding that the Centre waive their loans and interlink national rivers.

The principal problem here, of course, is water. This is no surprise.Tamil Nadu is one of Indias top groundwater guzzlers, with 142 of 385 blocks in the state recorded as over-exploited, where withdrawal happens faster than recharge.

Does the solution to the water and agrarian crises lie with farmlands? Are there ways to improve the water-use efficiency (currently 35-55%) of irrigation systems? Farmers and agriculture experts across the state share some low-cost natural and native farming hacks.