The Gujarat government is experimenting with the concept of cluster-based community farming with focus on the cotton crop.
The aim of this idea is to encourage drip irrigation. Sources in the state agriculture department have indicated that the first phase such farming has already started in around 109 villages in state.
State agriculture department sources said, "The department aims to encourage drip irrigation farming for the cotton crop. Till now, 123 clusters of farmers in 109 villages have been covered. Around 47,000 hectares of farming land has been covered. While the size of clusters varies from 10 to 100 hectares, average cluster size is 40 hectares."
Explaining the concept, the officer said, "We want farmers to adopt drip irrigation and scientific methods. They hesitate because of the per hectare cost of installing the facility. Presently if a farmer wants to install the facility of his own the cost would be around Rs1.20 lakh per hectare. So we have suggested making clusters of cotton growing farmers in the villages, forming their own body and we encourage them to do joint farming using the drip irrigation. Through this cost of installation will come down to Rs84,000 per hectare."