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.
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?