How new solar technologies in Kehripur, Uttar Pradesh are helping farmers protect their crops from wildlife raids
Kehripur village in Uttar Pradesh shares its boundary with Amangarh Tiger Reserve, which has been declared a buffer of Corbett Tiger Reserve. In the recent past, farmers in Kehripurhave been losing their crops due to frequent raids by elephants and other herbivores. A rapid assessment survey by WWF-India in the area showed that the loss incurred was INR 40,000 per farmer, which is a substantial portion of a farm’s annual income.
Rohtash Singh, who owns a farm of an area of 3 hectares adjacent to the forest, used to lose crops from more than half the area when elephants visited his crop fields. Singh, along with other farmers in the area, made many efforts to guard the field –from makeshift watch towers to using firecrackers– but all of these proved to be ineffective.
With support from WWF-India, Rohtash Singh and other farmers set up a 2 kilometer long solar fence, which protects close to 100 hectares of agricultural land owned by 30 farmers.
The solar fence uses 5 strands of live wire, at a height of about 6 feet. While WWF provided the equipment support for the fence, the installation was carried out by the farmers themselves. The farmers also arranged the poles required for the entire fence from their farms. The maintenance and monitoring of the fence is also done by the community.
The solar fence installation has brought down Rohtash Singh’s loss to INR 6000. Although he still needs to maintain a night vigil, the hours have reduced from the entire night to merely 2 to 4 hours now.
“I was stuck in a vicious cycle of debt and thought I would never be able to recover the loss. The solar fence has enabled me to protect my crops due to reduced wildlife raids and therefore I’m able to save enough money, every month’’, Singh says.
Around 776 farmers in WWF-India’s Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) have similarly benefitted through the solar-fencing initiatives in 7 villages in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh with high number of negative human-wildlife interaction cases.
To know more about the TAL, click here.