Solar Power For Food Security!
In a remote village of India’s Goa state, poor and marginal farmers now have a way to secure their food: Use fence that run on solar power.
Transfer of technology from the rich and the urban society to the poor and the rural areas has been one of the most hotly debated international issues for some time. The United Nations has been consistently emphasizing on the need for a smooth transfer of green technology from the rich countries to the poor nations, in order to equip the poor nations to better deal with climate change. However, despite more than ten years of negotiations, developed and developing countries are still deeply divided about modalities and outcomes of technology transfer under the UNFCCC.
At the backdrop of this, use of solar technology by one of the poorest communities in a small coastal area is indeed a piece of good news. The village where farmers are using the solar technology is in a forest area called Cancun. Residents of this village are forest tribal for whom agriculture is the main source of earning. Now, by using solar fences to ward off forest animals such as wild boars that destroy their crops, these people are actually using technology for food security.
Normally, solar technology is considered too expensive for a poor community to afford. For example, one has to pay over two hundred thousand rupees to get solar fencing for 1 km of area. But in Goa, the Directorate of Agriculture has been providing 50% subsidy on solar fencing. The government calls it a ‘Community fencing scheme’ that allows the entire community to apply for the subsidy as a single group. Under this scheme about 25 farmers of the village applied and brought home a solar fence for which they had to pay only Rs10 thousand. The government officials installed the solar panel, the batteries for storing the power and the fence too without any extra charges.
Says a local farmer Laxman Gaonkar, “We are marginal farmers with about 2 -3 ha of land. Since the land is so little, even a single crop failure would mean near starvation for us. This is why when we heard about the government scheme providing solar panels and fence at subsidized rate, we decided to buy it. We have chosen to buy solar fence over solar lights or solar cooker etc which are more common to access. Because saving our crop is our priority.”
Gaonkar however says that his village has other problems such as erratic power supply and hopes that in near future the village would also get such subsidy for using solar panels to light their houses as well.
Tags: Stella Paul , Goa , Solar Power , Food Security , Solar Technology , Canacona , Village Community , Forest Dwellers , Forest Tribes , Technology For Poor
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