There are a number of aspects to irrigation but our main interest is using the minimum of water possible.
What we do not support is the ill-considered sinking of wells that have depleted the water table in many parts of the world!
Several ways are known that allow water to be drawn 'on demand' from plant roots where little rain falls; as is the case in the drylands of the world.
When soils become too dry plants becomes stressed and growth diminishes.
If plants are not then irrigated they can die.
Experiments are being arranged allowing people in these places to find better ways of providng minimal continuous irrigation!
Porous pots (pitchers) have been used for thousands of years and operate similarly. But they are often too expensive/fragile and not found now in many places.
If you click on the buttons below you will download a draft pdf explaining the rope wick technique.
If you visit Youtube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MRtdrJFm3Q
you will find a video of on-going wick garden experiments.
Extract from The End of Famine in Africa by Dr. Vincent Kitio.
He was born in Cameroon
Recent images shown on Kenyan television could not fail to move even the stone hearted among us to tears.
It was heart wrenching to see women hopelessly cuddling the lifeless bodies of their children, victims of merciless famine that swept across the country. Many appeals were made both by government, churches and even the corporate world to help mitigate against the disaster.
Across the continent and to my home country of Cameroon, a similar event recurs almost every two
years and appeals are usually made by those in authority seeking food to help the victims. As an
African professional, these are some the issues that leave me pondering on how my fellow learned Africans and I can contribute to alleviate the suffering which our people have been undergoing.
The problem of recurring famine goes deeper than the often touted reason of lack of water to help grow food or for animal use. The water levels available in Kenya are enough to sustain a hunger-free nation. In some parts of Cameroon, people suffer famine despite that country having the distinction of being home to the wettest climate on earth.
Examples abound of how others have managed to overcome.
Despite the scarcity of water in semi-desert and arid lands of North Africa, the Arab World, the Mediterranean countries and part of the South East Asia, farmers there enjoy better food security, compare to Sub Saharan Africa. This is not because their economies are better off to enable them to easily pump water for irrigation. Long before the discovery of fossil fuel, most of these countries
already enjoyed food security. In fact, in order to cope with the harsh climatic conditions with little rains, inhabitants of these dry lands developed traditional knowledge of water lifting techniques to exploit streams, rivers and underground water for irrigation to increase food production. As a result, farmers are able to harness available water to grow crops and harvest up to three times a year. In this process, all available forms of energy are put into use, such as human power, animal power,
water power and wind power, to lift water for irrigation.
These ancient water lifting knowledge that have been in used in Europe, Arab World and part of Asia for centuries are still ignored in Sub-Saharan Africa. Farming in Africa depends heavily on rainfall and human labour and therefore, agriculture is vulnerable to the weather. As part of a long lasting solution to the recurrent drought and famine, there is a pressing need to document, adapt and
transfer these technologies to areas suitable for their application.
Farming in Africa depends heavily on rainfall and human labour and therefore, agriculture is vulnerable to the weather. As part of a long lasting solution to the recurrent drought andfamine, there is a pressing need to document, adapt and transfer these technologies to areas suitable for their
Famine in Africa has reached unprecedented and disproportionate levels. Images of malnourished children, weak adults and carcasses of livestock’s are portrayed in the mass media every day.
All Sub-Saharan Africa countries are affected by this drought, which many people argue that it could have been prevented or minimized.
Many attribute the origin of this preventable situation to poor governance, corruption, over population, climate change, dependency syndrome on food aid from foreign assistance and so on.
The main root causes of famine remains the dependency of African agriculture on the weather, particularly the rain. This heavy dependence, not only reduces the number of harvest per year, but also gives little freedom to the farmer for proper planning.
Several years ago, rain-fed agriculture was not an issue in Africa, since entire community could migrate from drought areas to greener pastures. This is no longer the case as no free land is available any more.
Globalisation is also contributing to the burden of famine: cheap crops import dominate some local markets to the detriment of local crops. This situation is worsened by the fact that agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa depends heavily on human labour as opposed to mechanisation. As a result, farmers need to provide more and more effort for little output. The application of irrigation methods in African agriculture remains very limited due to the water drudgery associated to it. The percentage of land irrigated in Africa is the lowest of the world.
Very interesting project that avoids all irrigation, it is claimed, is found in Niger. We hope to find similar seeds for other drylands
The following piece is about the lack of irrigation in Africa.
It makes one pause for thought!
Does he have the real answer to the problem?
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