Small is beautiful – Role of small pumps in enhancing the incomes of small and marginal farmers in Eastern India

A study was conducted to understand the role of the small pumps in enhancing on farm incomes of small and marginal farmers. The study was conducted in five districts of the three states, with a sample size of 176. Four categories of pump users were identified, only small pump users, only large pump users, small and large pump users, and no pump users. The study highlights that Small diesel and solar pumps, which are easily transportable from one place to the other prove more effective for small farmers as compared to marginal farmers, as they have higher land fragmentation compared to marginal farmers. Irrigation intensities (total number of hours the pumps are used) of small pumps are almost double that of large pump users during Rabi in all the three states. Despite higher HP available per Net Sown Area, farmers using large pumps have lesser net area under irrigation as compared to small pump users. Income per hectare of small pump users are the highest in Assam, followed by Jharkhand and are the least in Odisha. In all the three states these incomes are higher than large pump users with similar operational land holdings respectively. The net benefits to expenditure ratio is higher more than one in case of small diesel and electric pumps, however in the case of solar pumps the value is very low. The small pumps therefore hold a potential for transforming the agricultural landscape in the eastern states of Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam, when taken up on a large scale by small farmers.