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October 13, 2008

Appropriate technology irrigation pumps sell well in Africa

Nonprofit organisation KickStart Inter-national’s has successfully developed and marketed an irrigation pump called the MoneyMaker, which has become highly sought after by subsistence farmers in Africa, said Kickstart International cofounder and CEO Martin Fisher.

Fisher says that KickStart, which develops and markets new technologies, has sold more than 105 000 units of the pump, since it was made available to subsistence farmers in East Africa in 1998.

The irrigation pump was designed and developed by KickStart, and is primarily used by poor farmers, who use them for small-scale irrigation, reports Fisher. “In the past 12 months, we sold over 22 500 pumps throughout Africa, primarily in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali, Malawi and Zambia,” he says.

He mentions that KickStart has constructed wholesale and retail shops in each of these African regions. “The pumps are sold in over 440 retail shops with the vast majority of shops located throughout Kenya, Tanzania and Mali, where we run major retail promotions,” says Fisher.

The MoneyMaker has also been distributed in large quantities in the Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and the Congo where KickStart concentrates on the wholesale sales of the pump, states Fisher.

He says that the pumps are manufactured in Kenya, Tanzania and China and are manufactured in two models.

“Firstly, the Super-MoneyMaker is a treadle-operated pump that retails for between $110 and $150, depending on the location, and the MoneyMaker Hip Pump is a full-body action pump that retails for between $35 and $50,” states Fisher.

He mentions that the Super-MoneyMaker and the MoneyMaker Hip Pump are human-powered pumps with suction depths of 7 m and total pressure heads of over 14 m.

“They are used for pres- surised hose irrigation of smallholder farms up to 1,25 acres in size for the Hip Pump, and up to 2,5 acres in size for the Super model,” explains Fisher.

In response to the demand for a lower-cost pressure irrigation pump, KickStart, subsequently designed and launched the MoneyMaker Plus irrigation pump.

The small leg-operated pump has one piston and one cylinder, but can still draw water 7 m deep, with a total pumping head of over 21 m, and can be used to irrigate as much as one acre of land.

The MoneyMaker is widely used by subsistence farmers in Kenya, and has transformed the small subsistence farms into vibrant commercial enterprises, reports KickStart International.

The nonprofit organisation states that many thousands of entrepreneurial farmers have experienced a tenfold increase in harvests, owing to the effectiveness of the Moneymaker in the irrigation of crops.

In Kenya, specifically, this has translated into profits of KSh400 000 or $5 400/y, as poor farmers are now able to sell as many as three to four high-value vegetable crops a year, and also ensure that crops are ready for the market when the price is high, reports KickStart International.

Original MoneyMaker
The original MoneyMaker pump developed by KickStart was introduced in September 1996 and consisted of a small treadle-operated pump, which was able to draw water from as deep as 7 m.

The pump was able to furrow-irrigate up to two acres of land.

Over 4 050 units of the original MoneyMaker pumps were sold, and are still being used to generate over $3,9-million in new profits and wages every year, proving the potential of microirrigation in East Africa, reports KickStart.

The original pump, however, can only draw water from a well or pond and dump it into an irrigation furrow. KickStart states that the pump is unable to push water through a hosepipe or up a hill. As a result, Kenyan farmers preferred to irrigate with hosepipes or sprinklers, and wanted to pump water up to their fields on the sides of hills.

The KickStart Super-MoneyMaker pump was subsequently introduced in October 1998. It replaced the original MoneyMaker, which KickStart removed from the market, in February 1999. The Super MoneyMaker is suitable for use on steeply sloping land where the water source may be at the bottom of the slope.

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