By Laxman Kafle Lamahi, Mar. 24: Farmers of Gurung Khola Magar Tole in Rajpur Rural Municipality-1 in Dang district no longer depend on rain water to grow crops, thanks to the lift irrigation project, initiated with the financial and technical support of the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project (PMAMP). The Farmer Systematic Land Consolidation Programme, under that project, has elated 20 farmer families by ending long-standing irrigation problems once and for all. Project Implementation Unit of PMAMP, which manages irrigation facilities for the farmer families, has supported them in mechanising agricultural works. Installed at a cost of Rs. 1.5 million, with 85 per cent subsidised, the water lifting pumps is helping them irrigate 15 Bighas of land throughout the year. “We are very happy to see that our fields can now grow crops and vegetables three times a year,” said Lal Bahadur Budha Magar, chairman of Gurung Khola Agriculture Cooperative. “Our arid village is now converted into a green area. We had to rely on rain water for crop plantation, and the yield was very low because of the lack of irrigation facilities. When rain failed, so did our crops. But that is history now,” he said. “The river has been flowing below the settlement, but nobody thought of lifting the water above to irrigate crops until recently,” he said in an interview. “The farmers have already harvested potatoes grown there using water coming via irrigation facility, which came into operation four months ago. I alone harvested about 335 kg,” Lal Bahadur said. At present, farmers have planted maize in their field with the help of machinery tools provided by the PMAMP at a subsidised rate. Another local Bishnu Bahadur Oli said that farmers had started growing vegetables, including cabbage, tomatoes and cauliflower and that only recently they had planted 2,000 plants of lemon. He added that each farmer family had been making their ends meet from the money earned from rearing and selling goats and the income made from selling agro products like maize would help make things even better. “We no longer have to buy any vegetable, which we did at the time when there was no rain,” he said. Mahesh Regmi, chief of the PMAMP Project Implementation Unit, Dang, said that a small support had yielded many times more returns. He added that the Suryadaya Farmer Multipurpose Cooperative had promised to purchase maize produced by the farmers and that had further encouraged them to grow the crop commercially. “When I visited this place a few months ago, I saw this potential of lifting water from the river. After receiving financial support, we asked the electricians and plumbers of the village to install motors and that is how the project came into being,” he said, adding, “If we cultivate crops in all fallow lands similarly, their production will increase manifold. That will help us in reducing the ever-growing agricultural imports.” Hundreds of thousands hectares of land are left fallow or barren due to lack of irrigation facilities across the country.