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Tambhere Gram Panchayat is situated in the Rahuri black of Ahmednagar. The area falls in the drought-prone zone of the state. In the absence of basic irrigation facilities, Tambhere GP had a traditional cropping pattern. Farmers grow bajara (pearl millet) and jowar (Sorghum vulgare) during the kharif season, while the land remains uncultivable during the rabi season due to lack of irrigation facility. It was decided in the Gram Sabha to construct farm ponds for rainwater harvesting as a drought mitigation initiative.
“The horticulture plantation helped me to earn a good income, and it makes happy. I could raise this plantation only due to the farm pond constructed under MGNREGS”. —Rohidas Musmade, farmer from Tambhere village
In the financial year 2017–2018, the Gram Sabha decided to construct a farm pond of size 30 m × 30 m at a cost of Rs. 2.51 lakh for Shri Rohidas Musmade, a farmer from Tambhere village, having a total landholding of 1.30 hectares. The agriculture department facilitated him with pomegranate plantation in convergence with MGNREGS for 0.50 hectares of land. A total of 370 saplings were planted at an estimated cost of Rs. 1.13 lakhs. In addition, he was also provided with drip irrigation facility under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) at a cost of Rs. 24,000.
The farm pond increased the water storage capacity, which was in turn used for irrigation. Drip irrigation helped Shri Rohidas Musmade to utilize the storage capacity to its full extent. Change in cropping pattern benefitted him in enhancing his income. After constructing the farm pond and pomegranate cultivation, his income increased from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 3.0 lakhs from the 0.5 hectare of land. Rohidas Musmade’s success story boosted the confidence of other farmers in the vicinity. Five more farm ponds with pomegranate plantation were taken up under MGNREGA in another 18 hectares.