Peddling Toward Prosperity: Profile #1 Building Markets for Micro-Irrigation Systems in Asia and Africa

13 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2014

See all articles by Philip E. Auerswald

Philip E. Auerswald

George Mason University - Schar School of Government and Policy

Nicholas Sullivan

Independent

Date Written: August 1, 2010

Abstract

Of the three billion people in the developing world, fully two-thirds live on small farms. Among them are over 800 million people who earn under a dollar a day or less — the majority of those globally who endure absolute poverty.

Smallholder farmers have meager incomes largely because the methods they employ undervalue their time, the scale of the plots they cultivate under-utilizes their assets, and the mix of crops they plant under-performs potential alternatives in the marketplace. One simple, proven solution to these three related problems exists: micro-irrigation. Around the world, most smallholder farmers who lack access to a stream or pond can reach water by digging a 5- to 60-foot well. Where available, technologies that are both affordable to dollar-a-day farmers and efficient for the irrigation of small plots from shallow wells provide a mechanism for increasing labor productivity, expanding planting options, extending the growing season, and obtaining higher prices in the market. The results are increased income and improved well-being for smallholder farmers.

This profile describes an approach to building markets for micro-irrigation systems that has been successfully employed in South Asia and Africa, reaching more than two million households and typically boosting the incomes of small farmers by over 500 percent. The approach has three elements: designing agricultural tools, notably treadle-pumps and drip-irrigation systems, that can be used cost-effectively by dollar-a-day farmers; seeding supply chains to ensure broad availability; and innovating new marketing approaches in order to build market acceptance.

Keywords: technology, development, micro-irrigation, farms, entrepreneurship

JEL Classification: N50, 011, 012, 013, 015

Suggested Citation

Auerswald, Philip Edgar and Sullivan, Nicholas, Peddling Toward Prosperity: Profile #1 Building Markets for Micro-Irrigation Systems in Asia and Africa (August 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2396851 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2396851

Philip Edgar Auerswald (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Schar School of Government and Policy ( email )

3351 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://auerswald.org

Nicholas Sullivan

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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