Netafim was one of close to 200 Israeli and foreign participants at the Water Technology and Environment Control (Watec) exhibition and conference, which took place in Tel Aviv from October 22 to 24, 2013. It was an opportunity for me to mingle and exchange ideas and experiences with government officials, agriculture workers, and water company managers from Israel and around the world.
Session On Water Technologies For Emerging Markets
I was invited to participate in a session on water technologies for emerging markets. During the session I spoke about how drip irrigation has changed the quality of life and livelihood of smallholders in developing countries. I presented two of our very successful projects – one in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and the other in Kitui, Kenya.
The Andhra Pradesh Micro-irrigation Project (APMIP) in India represents a unique collaboration between government, banks, farmers, and private irrigation companies. Bringing micro-irrigation to nearly 200,000 farmers in the southern India state, APIMP was accompanied by irrigation technology, Nutrigation™, and agronomy training, along with capacity and knowledge building. In addition to enhancing growers’ yields, income, and quality of life, the project empowered farmers to become entrepreneurial, while giving poorly educated and low-caste farmers equal opportunities for success.
The Kitui project involved deployment of Netafim’s Family Drip System (FDS™), a gravity-based drip irrigation solution, providing growers with the know-how and means to become self-sufficient. Targeting 200 poor, small-scale vegetable growers, primarily women and elderly individuals, the project involved extensive agronomic and technical training, as well as capacity building. In addition to boosting yields and income, the project enhanced farm management know-how and allowed women the time necessary for their daily family tasks.
Based on years of experience working with smallholders in developing countries, Netafim has found that the key to successful integration of drip technology is the combination of providing tools and building capacity.
These two projects underscored this winning combination. Both projects utilized a wide range of extension education opportunities in these and other smallholder projects. These included agronomic and technical training, such as basic horticulture and agro-business concepts, nursery establishment and management, and pest and disease control. Other opportunities included marketing training before harvest, on-the job training in compost making and plot preparation, and drip kit installation, operation, and maintenance.
Texas Governor Expresses Gratitude To Netafim For Their Successful Work In Texas
During lunch at the conference I met Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, who was the head of a large delegation from his state. He was full of praise for what Netafim has done for Texas. South Texas (Rio Grande Valley) has been using drip irrigation for more than two decades, with significant increases in production of vegetable and citrus crops, while realizing water savings. West Texas in the area around Lubbock has approximately 500,000 acres of permanent SDI (Sub Surface Drip). While primarily used for cotton, its use for other crops including corn, forage, and grain sorghum has increased significantly.
Texas continues to experience severe drought and aquifers continue to decline. Encouraged from the success stories of drip irrigation in Texas, the adoption of SDI is spreading throughout the central and eastern parts of the state. It is being used for forage crops (Daisy Dairy and others), greenhouse nursery applications, corn, and cotton.