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November 2004: Agricultural Notes

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This information comes from "Manual irrigation pumps transform rural livelihoods" in Appropriate Technology, Vol 31, No 1:

"38,000 farmers in Kenya and Tanzania are now using manual irrigation pumps designed by ApproTEC (Appropriate Technologies for Enterprise Creation) and between 700 and 800 more are being sold every month. Farmers who once watered their crops with buckets have been able to increase their weekly income from $7 to $21, depending on the market they are able to access. "Using the pump, a small-scale farmer can grow three or four crops a year instead of one or two, and can switch from low-value to high-value crops, and ensure that they are ready for market when the price is high."

"ApproTEC currently offers two irrigation pumps, the 'Super-Money-Maker' and the 'moneyMaker Plus,' priced at $78 and $39 respectively. They appear as simple tools but are advanced in design and manufactured to high quality specifications. Every pump carries a serial number and ApproTEC offers a one-year repair and replacement guarantee to all buyers. Adapted from the widely used Asian treadle pump, the MoneyMakers are all metal, but are smaller, lighter weight (21 kg and 9 kg) and easily portable. They are simple to install, can be serviced and maintained without any tools, and are capable of irrigating between one and two acres a day. . Typically, pumps lift water from a 12-16 foot deep well, or from a stream in a valley floor, pushing water uphill through a 1" diameter hosepipe to irrigate vegetables in a half-acre area adjacent to the water source.

ApproTEC, whose mission "is to promote sustainable economic growth and job creation by promoting technologies that can be used by small-scale entrepreneurs to establish and run profitable enterprises," has also developed an oilseed press, a stabilized soil block press for making strong building blocks from soil and cement, domed concrete pit latrine slabs, and a manually operated high-pressure hay baler, among other products. For more information contact ApproTEC, P.O. Box 64142, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel/Fax: +254 2 787380/1,,

Four articles in Growing for Market magazine relate experiences of commercial farmers in growing and/or selling their product. All contain details too extensive to include here, but we suggest that anyone trying to improve sales of their own product could benefit from reading them. In the May 2004 issue are "Value-added products round out herb sales" by Sandie Shores and "Peppers are hot products for Chile Man," by Joan Vilbert. In the August 2004 issue are "Time to get ready for winter!" by Brett Grohsgal-about the winter crops that are being grown on one farm in southern Maryland-and "Mesclun can still be profitable," by Alison and Paul Wiediger.

From a booklet: Weathering Natural Disasters-Refocusing Relief and Development through Improved Agricultural and Environmental Practices published by The Future Harvest Foundation and CARE, in a section under "Zero-Till and Bed Planting in South Asia":

"Another recently promoted technique-planting wheat on raised beds-improves yields, increases fertilizer efficiency, reduces herbicide use, saves seed, saves an average 30% water, and can reduce production costs by 25-35% when permanent beds are used. Bed planting is gaining acceptance in India for wheat, and is even being tested for rice. Widespread adoption of one or several of these reduced tillage methods will bring significant environmental benefits."



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