How Can Micro Irrigation Help in Sustainable Agriculture?

Irrigation is an important part of agriculture, especially in arid and semiarid areas, efficient water supply and management are major concerns. However, continues extraction of water from earth is reducing water level, turning most of the land as unirrigated land. Hence, the demand for a new technique to save water in irrigation is rapidly rising. With help of micro irrigation systems, a large amount of water can be saved and agricultural output can be improved. With micro irrigation, carrying the desired amount of water directly to the root of the plant can result in better quality of crop and higher yield.

According to the report by Future Market Insights (FMI), the efficiency of water required for irrigation can be improved with help of micro irrigation systems. Adoption of innovative technologies to preserve water in Israel has made the country a global leader in supplying products in micro irrigation market. APEJ is expected to be the most attractive market for micro irrigation systems. While China and India hold a small percentage of land under micro irrigation, represents opportunity and growth for major companies. The micro irrigation systems market in India is expected to reach around $2.4 billion by 2027 end.

Adoption of micro irrigation to result in sustainable agriculture

Micro irrigation is also known as drip irrigation is the process that allows water to reach the roots of the plants through a network of pipes, tubing, drippers and valves. Innovative and smart technologies are being developed using sensors to save water and irrigate the land. For instance, automatic controller based irrigation system is being used in which irrigation only takes place when there is a requirement. This system uses valves to turn on and off automatically. It also helps in soil moisture control, eliminating human error in adjusting soil moisture levels.

Major companies are also entering into mergers and acquisitions to offer innovative technologies for better crop yield and save water during irrigation. One such company known as Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., the largest manufacturer of drip irrigation equipment in India has acquired two California irrigation firms, Irrigation Design and Construction Inc. and Agri-Valley Irrigation Inc. The new entity will be located in California offering irrigation technology. It will increase deployment of irrigation systems, using sensor based models that will alert on when to irrigate. The user will also be able to use iPads to remotely manage irrigation process.

Leading market players and researchers are also coming up with new technologies to save water and improve irrigation infrastructure and management. For example, scientists have developed new technology to sow rice without water. The new system will help in the cultivation of crop when there is a shortage of water for irrigation. The technology is said to save up to 60% costs of electricity and diesel, increasing per acre yield by 100%. However, the high installation cost is hampering the adoption of this technology.

Around 3/4th of Asian countries are expected to face looming water crisis in coming decade, according to the Asian Development Bank. However, farmers in APEJ need to be educated about the benefits of micro irrigation systems, as distrust towards new technology can restrict the adoption of micro irrigation systems in the region.

Nikhil Kaitwade

With over 8 years of experience in market research and consulting industry, Nikhil has worked on more than 250 research assignments pertaining to chemicals, materials and energy sector. He has worked directly with about 35 reputed companies as lead consultant for plant expansion, product positioning, capacity factor analysis, new market/segment exploration, export market opportunity evaluation and sourcing strategies.