Drip irrigation is the application of water, drop by
drop, through a network of pipes that run throughout a farmer’s field. In
addition to being the most water-efficient method of irrigation, drip irrigation
also increases yields significantly.
Drip irrigation has been around for some time, but the
conventional technologies are far too expensive and not suited to the small farm
plots of the world’s poorest farmers. In 1998, IDE began working with farmers
to adapt drip irrigation technology into a low-cost, scalable system appropriate
for dry season vegetable cultivation on small farms. With the support of Oxfam
Hong Kong and East Meets West Foundation, IDE has simplified the technology to
reduce its cost and to make it scaleable from plots as small as five square
Based on successful trials with farmers, IDE is marketing
the technology to create demand and building the input supply chain by setting
up and supporting local enterprises to produce, distribute, install, and service
the systems. IDE is promoting the use of drip irrigation through rural
mass marketing conducted with local private sector service
providers in central Vietnam. IDE is also working with some of Vietnam’s
poorest rural families, ethnic minority people in upland areas of central
Vietnam, to test the use of drip irrigation for high-value cash crop production.
In all cases, the experiences are the same: Small-scale
drip irrigation systems are viable, affordable farm inputs that either increase
yields or enable cultivation during the dry season.
Follow the links on the sidebar to read about individual
farmers’ experiences with drip irrigation.