A massive irrigation scheme is being developed in Rajasthan, in north-western India, near the Pakistan border.
GV & SV Man ploughing with camel. (2 SHOTS)
SVs & CU Woman threshing. (2 SHOTS)
GV & CU PULL BACK TO GV Tractor pulling harrow.
GVs Combine harvester at work in wheatfield. (2 SHOTS)
GVs Cattle. (2 SHOTS)
GV, SV & CU Workers picking cotton.
GV & GV PAN Rajasthan main canal.
CU Wheel turned, SV water released, GV irrigation canal. (4 SHOTS)
GV Workers in irrigated plantation, SV & CU water flowing through irrigation channels.
GV & CU Workers move piles of corn.
CU workers bundle cotton, loaded on truck.
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Background: A massive irrigation scheme is being developed in Rajasthan, in north-western India, near the Pakistan border. It is part of one of the largest irrigation projects in the whole of India; and is being financed by a United Nations agency, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, in co-operation with the India and Rajasthan State governments.
SYNOPSIS: The Rajasthan desert is one of the most inhospitable regions of India: a place of sandstorms and intense heat. Between March and June, the temperature tops 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). The annual rainfall is 300 millimetres (just under 12 inches), all falling in the monsoon season between June and October.
Without irrigation, it would be virtually inferible. The IFAD project will open up nearly 250,000 hectares (more than 600,000 acres) for farming, and more than half the land is already irrigated and settled. When the project is finished, it will provide a living for nearly 40,000 families. Most of them were previously landless labourers. Now each family has been allotted six hectares (about 15 acres) of land as its own. It gets a loan from the government to pay the price, and has 15 years to pay this back, without interest.
The farmers keep cows to produce milk for the family. Bullocks are used for draught work in the heavier soil areas.
Once there is enough water, Rajasthan can produce a wide range of crops. The cotton is doing well. Sugar cane also grows there. Much of the cereal production is for home consumption rather than cash crops. The farmers grow millet, rice, wheat and maize.
The Rajasthan main canal, which is 190 kilometres (120 miles) long, was finished in 1975. The IFAD project is part of a much larger scheme, put in hand after the Indus Water Treaty of 960 divided the waters of the Indus River between India and Pakistan. Altogether, it will bring more than a million hectares (2 1/2 million acres) of land under irrigation. The Indian government has provided much of the money, with the help of the World Bank and other international agencies.
The families which have been settled in the newly irrigated areas used to be desperately poor, with an average income below the official Indian poverty line of 640 Rupees (75 US dollars) a year. Now, if their land flourishes with abundant water, it is expected to bring their income per head up to 225 dollars, which is half as much again as the national average for all India.
To encourage the growers to produce more, the government of Rajasthan has introduced a price stabilisation system. It protects the farmers' incomes in the event of bumper crops, and is also designed to provide incentive to change from one crop to another as the market demands.