Agriworks: Mobile Irrigation System for African Smallholders
The Agriworks Mobile Irrigation System (AMIS) is a mobile, modular system for 1 - 6 acres. Because it is mobile, it can be shared by more than one farmer, and because it is modular, farmers can upgrade in a piecemeal way as they earn from the technology. Our design is extremely easy to learn & use, and requires minimal technical knowledge from the farmer. This gives it a low cost of sale, and makes it profitable for farmers in the first season after purchase.
Agriworks Uganda is a startup company in East Africa, aiming to be the leading provider of irrigation solutions for the commercial smallholder in the region. We do this through customer-focused R&D, specifically targeting the needs of smallholders. Our product line, the Agriworks Mobile Irrigation System (AMIS) is the designed to be the first turnkey irrigation systems that meet the unique needs of commercial smallholders. The AMIS technologies are scaleable, modular and applicable to a wide range of agro-ecological conditions. Our core innovation is to reduce the upfront cost of irrigation technology by making the systems mobile. This means it can be shared by more than one farmer, and customers can spread the cost while still being able to irrigate commercial-sized plots. Being mobile also lets the farmer keep the system in a safe location at night. Second, the design is fully modular, allowing a farmer to start small and add more features over time. Finally, because the AMIS is extremely easy to learn & use, farmers can master it in a number of days.
The product line is based on a mobile water delivery system - the 'AMIS foundation'. The AMIS-Foundation is a frame that moves on a common motorcycle, and contains a petrol driven pump, space for 160 meters of pipe, all pipe fittings, sprinkler heads & tripod, and fully equipped toolbox. Based on this frame, the customer can add on different units:
1)Rain gun sprinkler – Uses a booster pump mounted on a modified motorcycle to irrigate up to 6 acres.
2)Impact Sprinklers – Uses rapid-connect pipes and 4 low-pressure sprinklers to irrigate up to 4 acres
3)Drip Kit – The AMIS-frame Connects to 1/8 to 1 acre drip kits installed in the field (up to 8 kits per day).
Compared to what we observe other farmers investing in irrigation in Uganda, these products are nearly 5 times cheaper than the existing alternatives. By using the AMIS, farmers can realize:
- 4 times increase in the number of farmers that can get irrigate their plots
- Doubling their irrigated area
- 3 times increase in value of yearly production
- Twice as many weeks of harvesting per year
What Evidence do you have that your Innovation works?
The farmers that have used the system for supplemental irrigation have already recorded the following returns:
-An average of over $8500 of profit per acre using the AMIS
-An average of over $35 of profit per irrigation using the AMIS
-An average return on investment of over 10 times the operational cost
What is your strategy for expanding use of your innovation?
Agriworks aims to offer our technologies throughout East Africa. We hope to establish a number of offices in high potential areas, and work in partnership with other organizations that have a large farmer membership to reach out to potential customers.
We are interested in partnerships for scaling out, and organizations interested in promoting the AMIS in your area would be welcome to contact us.