Irrigation, economic growth and decent work: Advancing the SDGs

Goal 8

The recently published UNDP Human Development Report for 2015 identifies “sustainable work, which promotes human development while reducing and eliminating negative side effects and unintended consequences, as a major building block of sustainable development.” This is what UN SDG Number 8 is all about: economic growth underpinned by the availability of meaningful work in a positive labor environment. That brings us back to drip irrigation solutions. Irrigation is not just a way to grow crops more efficiently. It’s the basis for the creation of sustainable work in agriculture and the improvement of the economic position and well-being of millions of smallholder families around the world and the communities they are a part of.

An example of the way we make drip irrigation accessible to small farmers and enhance their ability to create decent work in agriculture is our unique solution (NetaKit™) for small plots of up to 3 hectares. We offered NetaKit TM for farmers in Ecuador in a government-led initiative.

The initiative was part of a collaborative effort with Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries. The ministry had initiated a multi-year project for integrated farming systems using modern technologies in the communal lands of the Santa Elena Peninsula to fuel economic development in the region. Drip irrigation was an essential element of these farming systems, since it enables crop cultivation during the dry season, thereby doubling the annual crop cycle from one to two.

Netafim’s solution, NetaKit™, is an all-in-one drip irrigation kit for small plots. Easy to transport, install, operate and maintain, NetaKit™ met the needs of farmers in Santa Elena. The government purchased and distributed NetaKit™ units to over 900 family farms growing corn, coffee, pepper and watermelon in small plots up to 3 hectares in size. The total area covered in the project was 940 hectares.

The results of the project have been outstanding. Corn yields increased by over 100% and farmers enjoy a three-fold increase in income; average farming income per capita improved from $450 to $1,800 per cycle, with the number of annual cycles more than doubling.

Irrigation, economic development, decent work: it all comes together in UN SDG Number 8!

Read more posts in our “Advancing the SDGs” series.

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