Drip Irrigation – Economises use of water Batulandak.info

is enjoying brisk uptake among smallholder farmers keen on
economizing water use especially in arid and semi-arid regions, with the
technology delivering triple yields compared to the other irrigation
methods thanks to its even distribution of water to all crops. The
method uses drip kits which come in different sizes depending on the
crop’s needs. A set of drip kit entails a water tank preferably plastic
as it is easy to manouver with during plumbing, a ball valve, filter,
supply pipe to the farm and connectors which have openings known as
emitters for water outlet around the root of the plant.

The tank, which the primary source of
water, is raised at least a meter high in order to give the water
gravitational pressure and pump it down the supply pipes. When the valve
is opened, the water flows through to the filter in order to only allow
pure water to flow to the root of the plant. The supply pipes and
connectors are all poly ethylene and are ultra-violet treated to protect
them from the impacts of hot sun. A drip kit can last for over 7 years.

The technology was first developed in
the USA and Israel for growing crops in dry climates where water is
limited. Traditionally In Zimbabwe, the technology has been the preserve of
large scale commercial farmers. Since then the
adoption has been widespread especially by farmers in arid and
semi-arid areas. According to a European Irrigation association report
on the technology, drip irrigation use among smallholder farmers
increases yields and economic gains by greater proportion compared to
conventional methods. The report noted that on the same size of land
where a farmer stands to get about 2000kgs of tomatoes when conventional
methods of irrigation are usedhe can get over 7000kgs using drip kit

The economic use of water by the drip
kits has been its selling point compared to other methods of irrigation
like sprinkler. “One stand to save a lot of water for instance compared
to sprinkler where water is sprinkled all over the land. With drip, the
emitters ensure that water drips only at the root of the plant allowing
one to use just 1.5litres of water with drip compared to the 10litres
when using sprinkler on a plant,” explained Mwangi.

In addition, the method also
reduces the cost of labour to a farmer. The use of drip kit lessens work when it comes to
weeding especially during the sunny season as you only uproot weeds around
the plant roots since that is the point where water drips.

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