12 July 2010
Last updated at 17:06
With 98 million subsistence farmers relying on rain water to grow one crop a year, India has a huge need for small-scale irrigation. International Development Enterprises India (IDEI) believes it has found a solution.
IDEI says its affordable and environmentally-friendly irrigation equipment lets farmers grow two to three crops a year - more than one million families have so far been helped out of poverty, the NGO says.
Treadle pumps like this one enable farmers to irrigate small plots of land where the water table is high. Cheap and simple in design, the pump can be bought for as little as $12.
Networks of perforated plastic tubes deliver water straight to plant roots which can reduce irrigation needs by up to 70%. This Maharashtran famly had a bumper crop of bananas, despite seven months of drought.
Travelling video vans are a popular way to educate villagers about irrigation technology, IDEI says. Bollywood-style films are shown - featuring the treadle pump and drip irrigation - set within a typical storyline of romance, drama and a happy ending.
The films generate interest and questions about technology, which are addressed at follow-up rickshaw and jeep campaigns, farmers meetings and village fair demonstrations.
Farmers who have already had successful harvests after installing the equipment help spread the word.
IDEI says its technologies are used by both men and women. Here women farmers hear about the benefits of the irrigation equipment.
Asha Dipak, a casual labourer struggling to feed her five children, invested in this family nutrition kit ($5). Within three months she says she and her family were enjoying nine different types of vegetable. (Photos: IDEI, Text: Alina Paul Bossuet)