THE PROBLEM: Throughout Africa, 80% of the lowest income families are small-scale farmers. They depend on unreliable rain to grow their crops and have, at most, two harvests per year.

 

THE INSIGHT: KickStart realized that many people already had a small plot of land and basic farming skills. With these they could provide for their own family. If people also had better irrigation they would be able to grow more – enough for their family and to sell.

 

THE CHALLENGE: How might we create a low-cost irrigation solution for small-scale rural farmers?

 

THE SOLUTION: In 1998, KickStart developed a line of manually operated MoneyMaker Pumps that allow farmers to easily pull water from a river, pond or shallow well (as deep as 25 feet deep), pressurize it through a pipe (even uphill) and irrigate up to two acres of land. The pumps are easy to transport and install and retail between R300 – R800. They are easy to operate and, because they are pressurized, they allow farmers to direct water where it is needed. It is a very efficient use of water, and unlike flood irrigation, does not lead to the build up of salts in the soil. With irrigation, farmers can grow crops year round. They can grow higher value crops like fruits and vegetables, get higher yields and most importantly, they can produce crops in the dry seasons when food supplies dwindle and the market prices are high. There are local, urban and even export markets for the new crops.

 

THE IMPACT: Since 1991, 132,000 successful new businesses have been started in Africa using the MoneyMaker tools. Today more than 800 new businesses are being created each month. Since each of these enterprises supports a family, it’s conservatively  estimated that these businesses have already lifted 659,000 people out of poverty. Each year these businesses generate over R900 million in new profits and have created 58,000 new waged jobs.

 

THE INNOVATORS: Martin Fisher and Nick Moon started ApproTEC in 1991, which became KickStart in 2005. Their goal has always been to develop, launch and promote simple money-making tools that poor entrepreneurs can use to create their own profitable businesses.

 

Read more here.

 

”If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.” -Steven Johnson

 

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