A short drive and a winding walk through the fields just outside Kisumu, Kenya, you will find solar water pump farmer Matthew’s farm, a one-acre farm full of a variety of lush, green crops – in the dry season!
On our visit to Matthew’s fantastic farm, he showed us all the different crops he was now growing, his plans for expansion, and his solar irrigation set-up. After this, Matthew was kind enough to share with us how his Futurepump solar pump has changed his farm.
Below is what Matthew had to say about solar irrigation!
What did you use to irrigate before getting your solar water pump?
I used to use the MoneyMaker [treadle] pump, the one you press with your foot.
How did you hear about solar water pumps?
Two things – one I saw it with my neighbour when he was using it. Two, I like browsing much and one day I bumped into the SF2 on the internet. I got interested in it, so I filled in a form online. That is when somebody called me two or three days later.
How much could you irrigate before getting your solar water pump?
Last time I could do like this one pad [1/3 of an acre]. Leaving two pads of the whole acre lying fallow because of the intensive labour required in using the MoneyMaker pump.
How much can you irrigate now with your solar water pump?
Right now, I would be able to use it progressively throughout the dry season. I would be able to water the whole farm [one acre] in about two or three days.
That is fully watered, while doing other things! Now this is the advantage that I have using this solar pump, that’s the beauty.
How have you found using a solar water pump?
The major benefits of the solar pump over the treadle pump – this one is more cost effective, it is easier. With a solar pump you can use it just one person on the farm.
Once you’ve made the connections, the thing will just run, it will irrigate your farm whilst you concentrate on doing other things.
This pump has really benefitted me so much. The rest you know is now history, I have the pump!
With the treadle pump you need two or three people, so that one or two of you can be doing the pumping while the other person is directing the pipe. So, it was more labour intensive compared to using the solar pump. And this one is more cost effective in terms of how much you need to use, to spend on it.
What crops are you now growing?
We have nightshade, kunde (cow peas), kales and some arrowroot.
I chose to zero-in mostly on the nightshade because it is not labour intensive but requires a lot of water. That is why this pump is ideal, we are able to give it a lot of water whilst doing other things. It sells very easily, the market loves it much – it gets a good price.
Have you had any challenges with the solar water pump?
None! The installation is very easy, very basic. Just install it in a matter of one minute and you’ve done your work, as long as there is sunshine. You go ahead and connect it and go ahead and do your own thing, it is a good pump.
We’ve been talking much about the solar pump around here, it is a very good technology, very good.
Would you recommend Futurepump solar water pumps to other farmers?
Very much, in fact I have been doing it! I’ve been telling people around here that this pump is good. The only challenge we are facing here is the floods that we do face. It will limit the time we will be using the pump in. If that was not a hindrance that would be selling out. That is my gospel around here.