The Gates Foundation has provided this video to show how one of their grantees’ low-cost treadle pumps are helping Indian farmers access irrigated water for their crops.
These water pumps are supplied by International Development Enterprises (IDE). They are designed to be cost-effective and low-maintenance, with only one part needed to be changed each year at a cost of 20 U.S. cents. Farmers simply dig a bore hole, insert a plastic tube into the hole and then connect the pump to this tube. Farmers then operate the pump using their leg muscles, and they can even pump extra water into adjacent reservoirs for on-going regulated use.
Only one in three farmers currently has access to irrigation in India. Accessing this technology helps smallholder farmers make more long-term investments, such as improved seeds and fertilizers, for their fields. Farmers might even be able to begin growing more lucrative cash crops such as fruits or vegetables.
In an innovative promotional campaign, IDE shares this knowledge with farmers by bringing movie screens into rural communities in the back of a van. Farmers are incentivised to watch a short presentation about the treadle water pumps by the promise of a free movie feature which is aired after the presentation finishes.
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has just launched an interactive world map highlighting some of the many success stories in agricultural development from around the world. It is part of a wider upcoming launch of their newest publication, Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development, which will be released on 12 November.
The interactive map allows viewers to explore case studies of how agricultural research has benefited individual countries and regions. Each case study identifies key periods of time, target regions, and a more detailed account of each intervention. It also provides additional links to related case studies from elsewhere.
The range of case studies includes:
Combating cassava diseases in Nigeria and Ghana: This programme has contributed to 40% yield increases and has benefited 29 million local people
Introducing zero-tillage agriculture in Argentina: This practice has improved soil fertility, created new agricultural jobs, and helped keep global soybean prices low
Improving mungbean yields and resilience in south Asia: Introducing new varieties of mungbeans has helped improve yields, shorten maturity times, and increase resilience to pests to the extent that global production increased by 35% over the past 25 years.
There are many more case studies on the site, which helps create a visual cue for understanding agriculture’s advancements since the mid-20th century.