Friday, December 26, 2008

Aurangabad

Peter and I traveled north to Aurangabad to meet with the people at Global Easy Water Products (GEWP), the irrigation supply company that provides materials to IDE. We learned more about how their supply chain works and how we could potentially work with them in order to get our improved low-cost drip tape into the hands of thousands of Indian farmers. We showed them samples of our tubing and even had a live demonstration with Peter’s sample kit. We also visited more farmers who are using IDE’s current drip technology: this farmer is using drip irrigation to grow cotton.
One of the most fun parts of our visit was a shopping trip to GEWP’s warehouse, where we spent a lovely morning looking at each and every piece they use for both custom irrigation installations and small irrigation kits. We purchased boxes of tubing, fittings, filters, and tools—and then had quite the adventure explaining the contents of our luggage to airport security on the journey home.

GEWP staff examining a demonstration of driptech irrigation tubing



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A visit from Peter and our first installations in farmers’ fields



Peter arrived this week and we’ve been busy checking out potential farmers and fields for the pilot study. At the end of this busy week, we’ve already installed irrigation at three sites. The first one is a small backyard kitchen garden in the town of Melur, where we’re using a small reservoir. The second is a field in Arsajul that will be planted in chilies; here we’ve used a double reservoir. The third and largest is one tenth of an acre, or 10 cents (centimes, or hundredths of an acre) in Indian English. Here, we’re running the irrigation directly from the diesel pump, with no reservoir. We’ve had great reactions from the farmers and their neighbors—several people have asked us when they’ll be able to buy our drip tape.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It works!



Our first demonstration plot, the kitchen garden at Ravi’s farm, is coming along nicely. This week the beds looked lush and full and green—so we decided we probably should weed them.
Now the green is a bit more sparse, but still encouraging. The beans are growing fast, though not as fast as the radishes, and the transplanted tomatoes are still head and shoulders above the other veggies.
Though the irrigation system does seem to be working well, I have to admit that it’s still been raining off and on since we planted the garden. These days, though, the forecast is for dry weather—for the next five months. Now we’ll really get to see what a difference drip irrigation can make.