We made our 2nd trip this week to look at dry season farms that might be compatible with foot pedal irrigation pumps (no fuel needed, completely manual). The criteria are: farms of over 1 acre, a minimum of 3 years experience with dry season farming by using water buckets to dip in a well, some type of barrier to restrict livestock access, existing wells with ground water no more than 15 feet deep (the pumps can only lift water vertically 20 feet), and the apparent ability to repay half the cost of the pump by April – approximately $112. At market prices of $20/5gallon bucket for tomatoes (and more for onions), it’s quite reasonable for farmers to slowly accumulate money and repay the ½.
The wonders of the pump had preceded our visit. Two years ago a particularly muscular local farmer, aptly nicknamed Bruce Lee, had purchased a pump, with YWF paying half. Others with good ground water have seen it in action, creating anticipation for getting more pumps in the area. The pumps save hours per day of very physically demanding hauling of water buckets, allow farmers to increase production, and make it possible to expand their gardens. The farmers we visited are quite grateful to YWF donors for bringing this irrigation option to the area, in fact it feels like we just won a popularity contest with local farmers. We will distribute 2 pumps this week and may be ordering more. Here are scenes from the three most interested farms today: