Elements for a pilot proposal

Development and testing of basic business model for the promotion of affordable low-lift pumps in West Africa

In the Sahel zone of West Africa overly expensive and inefficient diesel pumps are widely employed for village irrigation along major rivers such as the Niger and the Senegal Rivers. Current problems involve high overall pumping costs (fuel, maintenance, interest, and depreciation). This means a high proportion of the harvest has to be sold, which is usually not as easy as it seems, not in the least because the farm household may not yet have secured its own livelihood needs.

Pumping costs are high because equipment design and selection are below-optimal and procurement costs are high. The question is how to improve the efficiency of pump marketing in West Africa in such a way that pump irrigation turns into an affordable, sustainable solution for poor farmers along Sahelian Rivers.

Wuxi 6HBC-35

Wuxi 6HBC-35

Before these or similar pumps can be brought on the West African market, a number of questions will have to be clarified, either within the area of a pilot marketing project or for West Africa as a whole:

• What are the potential target groups, e.g. NGO’s, pump vendors, farmer groups, unions or federations, government organizations.
• What are the characteristics of the various market segments
• What is the size of these market segments (discharge, motorization, price)?
• What promotion material/campaign should be developed for end-users, retailers, and intermediaries?
• Is it possible to get the pumps exempted from import taxes and custom hassles?
• What kind of financing schemes are possible or necessary?
• What existing distribution  and import channels can be tapped into and how can the value chain be quantified (distribution of margins – price build up from import to consumer)?
• What is the customer (farmer) satisfaction with the first pump sets? How does it impact their operations/livelihood? Are there suggestions for improvement/adjustment?
• How can the experiences of the pilot stage be used for scaling up? Which type of after-sales system should be set-up after the pilot phase? What is needed for that?
• What is the consumer (farmer) perception on repair and maintenance peculiarities of the Asian equipment, if any?


About Sjon van ’t Hof

Development professional who worked in rural development, tropical agriculture, and irrigation development in Chad, Zambia, Mali, Ghana, Mauritania, Israel, Burkina Faso, Niger, and the Netherlands in capacities ranging from project design and management to information management. Conducted missions to India, China, Kenya, and Bangladesh. Experience in the development and delivery of trainings in irrigation equipment selection, information literacy, Internet searching and database searching. Explores systems thinking in relation to international development, education, and management, with an ever stronger focus on the systems approach of C. West Churchman. Knowledgeable in tropical agriculture, project design and development economics, agricultural mechanization, irrigation, plant pathology, environmental degradation and protection, rural development. Co-authored "Wicked Solutions: a systems approach to complex problems", a book written by Bob Williams and Sjon van 't Hof. It was published in June 2014 and provides a practical way of dealing with wicked problems. Wicked problems are complex, ill-structured, human problem situations. This book will help you design an inquiry and intervention in such messy, wicked situations. It does so by guiding you through the steps and stages of a systemic process that addresses your own wicked problem. For more information, see http://csl4d.wordpress.com/ or http://www.bobwilliams.co.nz/Systems_Resources.html
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