Fund for African Rural Innovation Promotion

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Pressure Irrigation

Thomas Grässlin and David Ernst, two engineers from RAPP company, spent a week in Magunguli in beginning of September to install and test a water-distribution system using firehoses. Amazingly we managed to reach far down into the plain and still have enough pressure and water to irrigate large fields. Technical proof of concept for operating sprinklers and water cannons with firehoses has been achieved. We are waiting for the detailed reports to then work out the next steps.


Short description of venture
Pressure irrigation with sprinklers and water cannons is a new thing for the Mgololo area. The company RAPP Infra AG from Basel in Switzerland has over the last few years supported to exploration of how to make this work for farmers in the area. A first demo was immediately picked up: Many farmers started improvising with small systems that pipe water from the streams running down the escarpment.
A first effort was to install an underground piped system that brought a lot more water to farmers fields and to test such fixed systems. This year we tested whether fire-hoses will allow to be more flexible and reach farther. This was a success: We could bring enough water with enough pressure far down into the plain to irrigate large fields. Proof of technical concept is therefore achieved

We are presently waiting for the final reports in order to then design the next steps. These must answer the question how to operate this system, who will own them, and how this kind of irrigation service can become a viable business for local people. At present it appears farmers may pay dedicated teams of irrigation specialists to make sure their crops have water when they need it.
RAPP Infra AG has indicated they intend to continue to support the further exploration of technologies and of business models to ensure efficient use of water. This creates direct employment and of course value addition in the cropping for the farmers.

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