twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

KickStart pump to boost Africa's irrigation capacity

How can Africa break out of its dependence upon subsistence farming?

KickStart, pump, Africa, irrigation, capacity, africaHow can Africa break out of its dependence upon subsistence farming?

 

One way is through simple water pumps. Across the continent farmers depend on rainfall to nourish their crops and despite hard work only manage to eke out a meager living.

An innovative manual pump system, designed to cheaply and effectively irrigate 1 to 2 acres of land is finding customers, rich and poor, across East Africa.

KickStart, creator of the pumps, is a social enterprise which for the past 22 years has designed, marketed, and sold appropriate technologies meant to “get millions of people out of poverty quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably.” The company says its aim is to “change the way the world fights poverty.”

 

Rain-fed agriculture

The MoneyMaker Hip Pump and Super MoneyMaker Pump, KickStart’s two flagship products, have helped launch over 111,800 new businesses, lifted over 500,000 people out of poverty, and are generating $113mn in new profits annually through agriculture, according to their website. The pumps, on average, result in a “10-fold increase in income" for customers, according to KickStart’s co-founder Nick Moon.

Some 90 to 96 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is still dependent on rain-fed agriculture, where crops can be harvested only once or twice per year, resulting in a feast-famine production cycle that continually challenges Africa.

In Tanzania, the agricultural sector accounts for nearly 80 per cent of employment and 75 per cent of rural household income, yet only 26.5 per cent of GDP. Land for farming is readily available. Effective tools for small-scale irrigation, on the other hand, are not.

Alfred Wise, KickStart’s Country Director for Tanzania, explains that technologies such as the MoneyMaker pumps allow people “to grow more, more often.” The pumps enable small landholder farmers to switch from low value to high value crops, and become less dependent on rain.

 

Growing demands

Through marketing these cost-effective pumps, KickStart is vying to transform small, subsistence farmers into productive business units that, they hope, will feed Africa’s growing food demands.

Although KickStart is a nonprofit organization, they consider themselves a “social enterprise” because they sell their pumps, rather than distributing them for free. Through an extensive network of 220 branded dealers across Tanzania, they have sold over 40,000 pumps since beginning operations in 2000, at a price much lower than diesel pumps ($66 for the MoneyMaker Hip and $112 for the Super MoneyMaker.)

Moon says that KickStart is a nonprofit due to the high cost of funding R&D efforts for these productivity-increasing technologies. Since “the African governments are not typically funding R&D”, he says that donors are needed to support R&D and subsidize the cost of the pumps and accelerate the diffusion of this technology.

 

Limitations

Yet the pumps have their limitations. Only 12 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population lives in areas with a water source within 23 feet of the surface to use the pump.

In addition, not all customers are using the pumps to be “lifted out of poverty.” Gideon Mgweno, a Monitoring and Evaluation officer for KickStart Tanzania, estimates 12 to 20 per cent of their pumps are purchased by individuals who use them for domestic use, such as pumping water into an elevated tank when the electricity is out. Finally, the pump can’t help those who lack land, seeds, fertilizers and a market.

Despite their limitations, these pumps appear to highlight the power, potential and ultimate need for innovation in Africa’s agricultural sector.


LATEST NEWS IN Water & Irrigation

Rivulis opens new factory in Manzares

Rivulis opens new factory in Manzares

Rivulis, a global leader in micro irrigation solutions, has announced the opening of its new state-of-the-art factory in Manzanares, Spain

Irrigating Africa optimally

Irrigating Africa optimally

Progressive farmers have begun to adopt modern techniques such as precision irrigation that do not rely on rain. In an exclusive interview with Tulana Nayak from African Farming, Elad Levi,...

FAO backs management of empty pesticide packaging in West Africa

FAO backs management of empty pesticide …

The GCP/INT/147/GEF Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and coordinated by FAO, has targeted Senegal’s Missirah to manage existing packaging and put in place a mechanism for sustainable...

Critical to pair tree-planting drives with water-wise technologies: Dake Rechsand

Critical to pair tree-planting drives wi…

In the backdrop of increasing tree-planting drives across the MENA region, Dake Rechsand, a company that specialises in sustainable solutions for water conservation and desert farming, has stressed the need...

Boosting commercialisation of water stress management solutions for field crops

Boosting commercialisation of water stre…

Agri-biotech company Elicit Plant closed its financing round to accelerate the development of its water stress management solution in agriculture, with support from the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF)

Rivulis offers free crop monitoring and irrigation detection service to its customer growers

Rivulis offers free crop monitoring and …

Rivulis, a global innovator micro-irrigation solutions innovator, has provided a free service to its customer growers for monitoring crops and detecting irrigation issues with satellite imagery

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Water & Irrigation

KickStart pump to boost Africa's irrigation capacity

KickStart pump to boost Africa's irrigat…

How can Africa break out of its dependence upon subsistence farming?

Dake Rechsand highlights water savings and desert transformation solutions

Dake Rechsand highlights water savings a…

Dake Rechsand, a Dubai-based company offering sustainable solutions in water conservation and desert farming, highlighted the unique capabilities of its award-winning breathable sand technology, at the virtual Global Forum for...

World Bank approves US$350mn water and sanitation project in Tanzania

World Bank approves US$350mn water and s…

More than three million Tanzanians in rural areas will be connected to safe water supply, while another four million people will gain access to improved sanitation through World Bank’s new...

Political leaders appeal for greater efforts to tackle global food issues

Political leaders appeal for greater eff…

Political leaders at the fifth annual EAT Stockholm Food Forum called for greater efforts to tackle issues plaguing the global food system

World Bank finances water and irrigation infrastructure of Angola

World Bank finances water and irrigation…

The World Bank announced that it will invest US$1bn to support agricultural projects in Angola linked to water resources and irrigation

Kenya to implement rain water harvesting

Kenya to implement rain water harvesting

New innovations in rain water harvesting are expected to boost the availability of water in many households in urban and rural Kenya

Water project boosts yields as farmers grapple with climate extremes in Mozambique

Water project boosts yields as farmers g…

The African Development Bank (AfDB)- funded water project in Mozambique has provided irrigation kits, constructed boreholes, small dams and water troughs that increased access to water for people and cattle...

EU supports water development projects in Sudan

EU supports water development projects i…

Jean-Michel DUMOND, head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Sudan, has confirmed the EU’s commitment to support better access to drinking water for the Sudanese population

Rivulis opens new factory in Manzares

Rivulis opens new factory in Manzares

Rivulis, a global leader in micro irrigation solutions, has announced the opening of its new state-of-the-art factory in Manzanares, Spain

Tanzania gives priority to irrigation projects to ensure food security

Tanzania gives priority to irrigation pr…

Tanzania will focus on developing irrigation farming to help ensure food security in the country

Western Cape dam levels remain stable

Western Cape dam levels remain stable

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in South Africa has provided an update on the Western Cape water situation, noting that the water restrictions imposed by the National Government...

Algerian minister Kadi outlines agriculture policy

Algerian minister Kadi outlines agricult…

Algerian government minister Abdelkader Kadi has this week outlined the country’s agriculture policy

Prev Next