A new small scale drip irrigation kit for small scale rural farmers has been introduced by the irrigation department at Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). The new kit is suited for peasant farmers with small land pieces who can’t afford large irrigation kits.
Suited for dry and semi-arid areas in Kenya, the new drip irrigation kit offers over 90 percent efficiency in water conservation, compared to furrow or sprinkler irrigation methods. The bucket kit can irrigate an area of 10 to 20 square metres with the drip pipes spaced 50cm from each other.
The current model remodelled by M.P.O Radiro has a simpler assembly and its components can easily be sourced by low income farmers in rural areas from their Jua Kali artisans.
Its components consist of a plastic bucket of 15 to 20 litres, plastic back nuts, pipes with a T junction, a nylon filtering cloth, male stopper, 5mm hose pipe, and a plastic bottle of 250ml. The bucket is raised 0.6 metres from the ground to avoid children tampering with it, and is connected to 12mm drip lines 15 metres in length.
With the kit a peasant farmers can grow 50 plants of tomatoes, cabbages, egg plants or kale each spaced 60 centimetres apart. Radiro’s cost benefit assessment shows that a farmer who plants 50 big-head cabbages each weighing 3 kilograms can sell each at Sh50 making Sh2500 “if the sale is good”.
However, if farmers opt to plant high value crops like tomatoes, after 3 months of maturity one tomato plant can produce 30 fruits, together weighing 7.5 kilograms in a poor season. On this basis, 50 tomatoes plants would result in a yield of 375 kilograms. If each kilogram of tomatoes sells in the market for Sh20, which is on the low side, the farmer can make Sh7500.
The Sh2500 from the sales of big-head cabbage is 2.5 times more than the investment a farmer needs to make to buy and install the bucket irrigation kit.
Written By James Karuga for African Laughter
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