Irrigation Field Day: Horti-Sempre promotes agricultural productivity through smart and affordable irrigation solutions

Sustainable agriculture
In Nampula, climate change and water scarcity are a challenge for farmers, especially for the ''Associação Verde’’, a women's association in Monapo that produces vegetables and seedlings in trays, for sale in the local market to guarantee the livelihood of their families. Using accessible irrigation solutions, the Horti-Sempre project, implemented by Swisscontact and financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), promoted the installation of a mixed gravity and drip irrigation systems to the association´s plots. The system adhered by the “Associação Verde” will allow maximizing production at all seasons of the year and reducing the effort to keep its crops irrigated. 

The irrigation project was budgeted at CHF 5 780 and the ‘’Associação Verde’’ contributed 42% of the total cost. The installed irrigation system is connected to a water pumping system that transports water from the quary dam to a storage tank, located at an altitude of 7 meters above the surface of the fields. Then the water is transported through pipes with a sufficient pressure to feed the drip system to irrigate the different plots and the greenhouse. With this system, the association will be able to use the greenhouse to its full capacity and produce between 20,000 to 22,000 seedlings per month, as well as its own and the association's fields.

Irrigation field day and the santeno irrigation system (on the right) 

The launching of this system took place during the irrigation field day in Nacololo community, where 8 different types of irrigation systems and practical solutions were presented (gravity, lay-flat, santeno, drip, micro-sprinkler, mist, laiser-jet spray, and the use of solar electric pumps, fuel-powered motor pumps, and hand and pedal pumps) used for gravity irrigation. Most of the different irrigation technologies and solutions on display were new to most people.

The event was attended by, among others, local government authorities and more than 200 small farmers who came to gather and exchange experiences, as well as receive greater knowledge of irrigation systems and equipment and material. Private sector companies also participated, presenting different products and services where producers were able to learn about the conditions and places where they can acquire these systems in the territory.

Due to the restrictions by COVID-19, the organisers of the event took the necessary precautions and applied the biosecurity measures imposed by the government, so all participants wore masks, and respected social distancing, starting with the division into seven visiting stations and seven groups of people (no more than 30 per group).

Each group visited a specific station, according to the different irrigation technologies on display for 30 minutes, where they received information directly from the association's representatives and extension technicians from different participating institutions.

Amida Abdala, secretary of the “Associação Verde” said at the time what the irrigation system represents

"it was worth our investment, now we have something of our own and it is the responsibility of the entire group to take care of this investment so that we can get the most out of it. Having irrigation system, our production will be on a large scale. With experience, we hope to influence the three women's associations in our community to adhere to these technological solutions"

The Horti-Sempre Project improves the access of local small-scale producers to relevant products and services which help them increase their capacity to produce and compete in the market. The project plays a facilitating role by introducing innovative and affordable irrigation solutions to increase the size of cultivated land and access to water for more months in the year.