Updated Jan 15, 2021

Kickstart International: Small-scale irrigation pumps

http://kickstart.org/

Hichem Mihoub

KickStartInternational is an award winning non-profit (501c3) social enterprise founded in 1991 We believe that the number one need of the poor is a way to make a lot more money. The best way for millions of small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to substantially increase their incomes is to move from ‘rain-fed subsistence farming’ to ‘commercial irrigated agriculture’. Since 1998, KickStart has designed and promoted very low-cost MoneyMakerbranded irrigation pumps. These pumps enable small-scale farmers to grow, harvest and sell high-value crops throughout the year—especially in long dry seasons when food is scarce and prices are high. The farmers earn large new year-round incomes, make additional income-generating investments and take major steps out of poverty.

KickStart innovates low-cost human powered -and now solar powered- irrigation pumps for small-scale farmers that follows 4 principles: A farmer-driven design criteria: -Affordable to buy & use–with cost recovery in 1 season -Easy to operate – hydrodynamic & mechanical efficiency -Strong & durable – for harsh & remote areas -Portable & storable –to be carried to the field -Pl...
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KickStart innovates low-cost human powered -and now solar powered- irrigation pumps for small-scale farmers that follows 4 principles: A farmer-driven design criteria: -Affordable to buy & use–with cost recovery in 1 season -Easy to operate – hydrodynamic & mechanical efficiency -Strong & durable – for harsh & remote areas -Portable & storable –to be carried to the field -Plug-and-Play –n o training or tools required High quality and low cost: -Mass produced –to achieve high-quality & low-cost -Quality guaranteed –protects farmers & promotes their trust Engineered for environmental sustainability: -Water efficient – pressurized hosepipe & sprinkler irrigation -No fuel required – solar & human-powered designs Providing range of appropriate technologies: -Human & Solar Powered Pumps–for small-scale irrigation -Water drilling, catchment & storage–to access water sources -Water distribution technologies–to get water to fields efficiently KickStart developed a line of pumps to cover different needs within the diverse population of SSA small-holder farmers: -The Starter Pump (priced at $50 and capable of irrigating up to 0.8 acre/day) -The Hip Pump (priced at $100 and capable of irrigating up to 1.2 acres/day) -The Max Pump (treadle-powered; priced at $170 and capable of irrigating up to 2 acres/day) -The Solar Pump (solar powered; priced at $410 and capable of irrigating up to 1 acre/day) These irrigation innovations in affordability critically expands our pool of target beneficiaries, offering incredible potential to scale our impacts through unprecedented inclusivity of financially marginalized households. To massively scale the adoption of its technologies, KickStart distributes pumps through a leveraged partnerships sales model working with a network of trusted distributors (which import and sell KickStart products, spares, and accessories) as well as financing institutions (‘irrigation loans’, pay-as-you-go). Governments and local and international NGOS have been critical to increase local access and uptake, empowering women and girls and attracting youth to farming as well as for the development of agro-preneurship programs.
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Stage 5: Scaling

Focus Areas:

Agriculture, Agriculture Water Management and Resilience

Agriculture, Agriculture Water Management and ResilienceSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and 13 MoreSEE ALL

Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Tanzania, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and NigeriaSEE LESS

1,300,000
Lives Impacted to Date
16
Countries Implemented In

Problem

80% of the poor in sub Saharan Africa (SSA) are small-scale, rain-fed farmers, scraping out an existence on small plots of land, at the mercy of the rain. 1 of 4 are struggling with chronic hunger, which threatens to grow worse as the population grows (Sub-Sahara Africa’s population will double by 2050). Theses farmers plant when it rains and all harvest at the same time. They flood the markets and ~40% of their harvest spoils before it is eaten or sold. In the off-seasons prices are high and hunger haunts the land, and when rains fail due to climate change they lose everything. Moving them from rain-fed farming to irrigated farming, they can grow and sell crops throughout the year, greatly increase their incomes, save their rain-fed crops when rains fail and take a major step out of poverty. With only ~4% of the farmland in SSA that is irrigated compared to 40% across Asia and 48% in India (IFPRI-Irrigating Africa 2010)—the potential for change is huge.

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Solution

KickStart believe that irrigated farming through affordable small-scale irrigation systems is the most efficient way to quickly enable millions of people in SSA to make money and climb out of poverty. KickStart designs, mass-produces and promotes unique, high-quality, low-cost, MoneyMaker-branded irrigation pumps that enable farmers to move from ‘rain-fed subsistence farming’ to ‘commercial irrigated agriculture’. KickStart sells the pumps through a local private sector supply chain, and uses its gross margins and donor funds to reach and educate farmers, and educate partners and policy makers, about the impacts of irrigation. Farming Families that use our Pumps boost net farm income by 400% on average, increase investment in livestock, improved housing, and education, mitigate the effects of climate change

Target Beneficiaries

KickStart’s typical target client is an SSA couple (in which farming activities are led by the woman) with five or more children, farming between one and three acres of land. The family rely on agriculture for their livelihood, but lives in a remote area and lacks access to basic agricultural tools, training, and credit. As a result, they struggle to grow enough to feed their family and face seasonal cycles of low yields and desperate poverty. 40 million small-scale farming families in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to surface water or shallow wells < 26 feet deep.

Competitive Advantage

For a huge number of small-holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, low-cost, highly efficient, manual irrigation pumps are the best solution for irrigating their land. This is true for: farmers who are first getting started in irrigation even if they later switch to motorized or solar pumps; farmers with motorized pumps who need a back-up for the times they can’t access fuel or their motorized pumps breakdown; millions of poor farmers who for many years to come will still find manual pumps are their most cost-effective irrigation solution. While petrol/motorized pumps have obvious and aspirational advantages over human powered pumps—they require no labor, are seen as “modern” and they can pump a lot more water—they also have major disadvantages compared to quality manual pumps like KickStart’s MoneyMaker pumps.

Milestone

Nov 2020
Lives Impacted
1,300,000
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Nigeria
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Mali
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Burkina Faso
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Ghana

Supporting Materials

KickStart-2019-Annual-Report-orientation-null.pdf