An irrigation chain: approx. 2,000 maize plants, 500 bean plants
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Due to the sandy soil the farmers had to dig a well farther from the water tank. In order to fill the tank over that distance we installed a 200 liter drum near the pump which is connected by ground pipes to the 13,000 liter tank. As the drum fills, the pressure in the drum exceed the pressure in the tank, and water begins to flow into the tank.
The water pump can usually pump faster than the water transfers from the drum to the tank, which could lead to an overflowing tank. However, this does not present a problem under normal conditions because the farmers take short breaks while pumping, allowing the drum and tank to equalize.
Demonstrating how to water-in the basins:
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Though they said they had some challenges at first, the irrigation process has not been difficult for them. They were excited to share with us their plans for expansion.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Here is a brief look at some of the windmills we are working on this season:
Salima, a lakeshore district, is an exceptionally windy area. The potential for wind power is known by some local village residents. One such resident has constructed his own windmill not far from our Siyasiya irrigation site. When we venture into the area we always stop by his windmill to see what progress he has made. On our last trip we brought him some PVC turbine blades to improve the efficiency of his design. He was able to get some consistent voltage from the attached bicycle dynamo but not enough to light his house. As he refines the design, we will give him any advice and assistance we can.
More windmill to come as the
Saturday, April 27, 2013
On Thursday we joined with farmers at Katsumwa to lay the brick wall on the slab we poured back in March. The farmers put a lot of work into the project and we really appreciate that. The tank will be approximately 15,000 liters capacity when finished later next week.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Last week, we went to Siyasiya in Salima to train farmers in basin irrigation. We were invited by World Relief international who support Ministry Teams from local churches in development and relief projects in the area.
The group picked up the ideas and techniques quickly and had a quarter acre ready for planting by the time we left. Over the next two weeks they will expand their garden up to 2-3 acres, where they will grow onions, tomatoes, maize and green vegetables.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
The Mziza Farming Club is getting into irrigation as early as possible this season. On Monday this week, we delivered farm inputs which the farmers accessed through a revolving fund for input loans.
In order to access the loan, a farmer was required to participate in irrigation training and plant at least two season under the new irrigation techniques. Farmers who proved that they could be successful irrigation farmers could then apply to receive inputs to expand the size of their irrigated gardens.
Each member will pay back the loan over two consecutive planting cycles this season. In this way, the loss of capital incurred by paying back the loan is mitigated by the extra income of the second planting. In other words, with two planting cycles it is easier to balance the crop yield between: 1) paying back the loan, 2) eating a balanced diet at home, and 3) using income for other purposes (e.g. paying school fees).