In Summary
  • Most farmers use electric, petrol or diesel-powered pumps to move water from sources such as rivers and boreholes into a tank or onto the farm directly.
  • The solar system operates on the principle of photovoltaic (PV) technology, which converts sunlight to electricity for the machine to pump water. The cost of setting up a solar system depends on the size of the gadget.
  • The pump pushes the water to a maximum height of 20 metres. Surface pumps are placed above the ground and are primarily used to move water through the pipelines.
  • The machine pumps about 40,000 litres of water using a litre of petrol, which is sufficient to irrigate two acres depending on the crop and the soil conditions.

To farm profitably, one needs a reliable and affordable water supply for irrigation. This is because water plays a crucial role in determining whether one will harvest losses or profits.

The water must be able to reach the crops in a cost-effective and sustainable way for one to make a profit.

Most farmers use electric, petrol or diesel-powered pumps to move water from sources such as rivers and boreholes into a tank or onto the farm directly.

Most of the time, the cost of pumping water goes up due to the fluctuating price of electricity and petrol or diesel.

The other day, I met a farmer who was unhappy because he was using a lot of money to pump water using his electric machine.

Well, there are cheaper options of pumping water for irrigation, which include solar and windmills.

In my line of work, I have encountered several farmers who have embraced solar pumps to pump irrigation water.

Solar pumps are economical because they can directly use a technology known as PV array (without a battery) to pump water into the tanks, which is then distributed to the farm by gravity.

The solar system operates on the principle of photovoltaic (PV) technology, which converts sunlight to electricity for the machine to pump water. The cost of setting up a solar system depends on the size of the gadget.

For instance, a 120-watt solar panel, inclusive of the water pump, goes for Sh45,000. This can pump 10,000 litres of water at five metres depth and 3,500 litres at 10 metres depth, which is adequate to irrigate half an acre.

Installation of electricity definitely costs higher depending on the distance from the transformer. The cost of pumping one cubic litre of water using electricity is approximately Sh17, with the bill paid monthly.

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