|The use of treadle pumps in small-scale irrigation has had a profound impact on farming for hundreds of small-holding farmers in Malawi.|
Small and medium scale irrigation made possible by the use of these pumps, has enabled large numbers of farmers to become involved in the production of horticultural crops such as onions, mustard, cabbage and tomato in order to increase food availability and household income.
These activities are invaluable because they can take place during the traditional dry season. Farmers who can irrigate from streams and riverbanks save a huge amount of time if they can deploy this simple yet practical pump technology.
Self Help Africa have mobilised rural farmers to work in groups of an average of 15 people and work on fields of 1 hectare or more. The traditional means of watering makes it difficult for the farmers to irrigate their crops and maintain enough moisture.
Hundreds of treadle pumps have been introduced to the irrigation programme of Self Help as one way of promoting small-scale irrigation and crop diversification for farmers - many of whom are now selling their surplus produce to local markets.
For effective use of the treadle pump, the package is introduced with a training component on operation, and maintenance of the pump as well as treadle pump plot layout for easy flow of water.