Monday, November 22, 2010

Of Eggplant & Papaya

Perched on the back of a red Yamaha motorbike, I whiz through the Jharkhandi countryside. We pass road side tea stalls, creaky buses, a herd of cattle tended by a young boy, and finally turn off onto a crowded market street and then onto a narrow dirt track. We bounce over the ruts, round a bend and come to a stop in front of a small farmhouse.

The installation team from our local NGO partner takes me around the house to where Krishna, the house’s owner, has his fields. Four rolls of driptape and several bags of components lay waiting for us, beside a field that’s intercropped with papaya and eggplant.

We’re here to do a demo installation on Krishna’s field – he’s been selected by the NGO to be a model drip irrigation farmer for the surrounding community. His demo field will be an educational and marketing aid to show the benefits of adopting our low-cost drip irrigation.

Three sweaty hours later, we pose for smiling photos in front of our newly installed drip irrigation. Krishna flips the switch on his electric water pump and we all watch with excitement as the water starts to flow through the pipes and drip lightly onto the waiting plants.

I ask the team what they think. “It’s good, Krishna will be able to show the village how to use drip.” Krishna says, “When I plant my other field, I’ll extend the drip system to cover that too.”

I hop back on the motorcycle and we zip off again through the jumble of small-plot farms. As the fresh rural air blows through my hair, I smile to myself - another installation complete, another partnership underway!

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