345 tribal (Khasi) inhabitants of Ummong Village of Umsning Block in Ri-Bhoi District, Meghalaya were unable to exercise freedom to select, especially in terms of the kind of crops they could cultivate, only because of the restricted irrigation facilities in their village. With agriculture being the main source of livelihood for these villagers, growing only paddy in one season was impacting their livelihood capacities.
But, this is a practice of the past years, for 18 out of 45 households today., the Diversion Based Irrigation System that has been developed on the gravity flow concept in the village has improved the crop production potential considerably. Under this system, command area development works of Umrew River have been undertaken, since it is a perennial source of water. The works include an 1850 metre long pipeline, a check wall, a sedimentation tank and a storage tank. Each of these was constructed by the community members themselves under the MGNREGA, thereby contributing 20 percent of the project costs. As a result, 18 households who own a total of 21 acres of land down-slope, now have assured irrigation for their fields year round. This has lead to three crop cycles, i.e. Kharif, Rabi and Zaid, in a given year. Therefore, from having no other choice than to cultivate paddy, approximately half the population of the village has the freedom to select a variety of crops (such as ginger, beans, tomato, chilly, turmeric, carrot, cabbage, brinjal, potato and radish) to cultivate along with the main crops. This has increased the yearly crop production of the Earthen Dam Constructed in Ranichuan Village farmers by 29 percent