Creating Markets for the Poor with Micro Irrigation Technologies, IDE-India, USAID, 2003

    The report summarizes the first year of activities under the USAID-funded project, 'Creating Markets for the Poor with Micro Irrigation Technologies'. IDE is using a BDS approach to increase dissemination of affordable micro irrigation technologies (AMIT) to small horticulturalists living in semi-arid areas who lack access to treadle pump programs. The initial IDE AMIT program developed, and field- and market-tested a micro irrigation technology adapted for small horticulturalists. This program builds on that effort by addressing demand- and supply-side constraints and coupling technology with complementary, agricultural production-related business services.

    During the first six months, IDE collected and analyzed baseline data on crops, water, well, and pump availability, and areas under cultivation and irrigation. It then identified potential NGO partners, drip system dealers, and BDS providers and trained them in microenterprise development, marketing, water use, drip systems, horticultural best practices, etc. IDE created demand for services through promotional materials, village meetings, campaigns, demonstrations, and participation in agriculture fairs. Women play a significant role in agriculture and IDE included several women in its training and promotional activities to increase outreach.

    IDE is developing indicators that can help it measure performance of BDS programs, particularly in those in rural areas dealing primarily with agricultural production.

    Summary of results
    · IDE facilitated the purchase of over 4500 drip systems, but realized that its strategy of working through NGOs to identify drip system dealers would not work in all cases and that it needed to do this directly. Program costs averaged $22 per MSE assisted.

    · Net profits for system dealers averaged 10%, but it was less for input dealers because there was more competition. MSEs using large systems increased their incomes by about $300 while small system users, for whom the primary impact was improved nutrition and food security, gained $15-$25.

    · IDE created a market for small, affordable drip irrigation systems for 20% less than the subsidized price. When one large firm realized this, it approached IDE about supplying components and also launched a low-priced system of its own.

    · IDE found it difficult to convince farmers to diversify production, try intercropping and to use drip irrigation. and organized (mostly subsidized) trainings by retired government extension officers, university professors, progressive farmers, etc. to promote these concepts. It is unclear if farmers will be willing to pay for such services in future. One of its most successful promotion tools was campaigns of IDE staff and local BDS providers moving from village to village to promote the AMIT concept. Providers share the cost of these efforts by volunteering their time.

    · Self-help groups were seen to be useful in helping very small MSEs purchase irrigation systems and IDE was working with NGOs to promote increased use of drip irrigation technologies.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    »Agriwatch - Business Information in India, Shivani Manaktala, IDE 2003
    Impact Assessment
    »A Model for Pro-Poor Wealth Creation through Small-Plot Irrigation and Integrated Service Provision, IDE India and Nepal 2004
    Final Documentation
    »IDE India's Journey towards Facilitation in Irrigation Technology, 2005
    Synthesis Documents
    »IDE PRISM Guidelines and Manual - Linking rural poor to markets & irrigation technology, 2005