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Thursday, 10 May 2018 10:43

New ‘Saajhi’ treadle pumps unveiled in Chikwawa

Written by  Steve Chirombo
One of the officials testing the treadle pump - Pic by Steve Chirombo One of the officials testing the treadle pump - Pic by Steve Chirombo

Chikwawa, May 10, 2018: Xylem Water Solutions has introduced disability and elderly friendly treadle pump known as Saajhi, a new technology in the irrigation sector which is efficient and flexible.

Speaking to Malawi News Agency (Mana) after briefing the Chikwawa District Team on Tuesday, Ernst Viljoen, Business Development Manager and Special Projects BTech Engineer, Ernst Viljoen, said his company decided to manufacture the newly developed treadle pumps having realized challenges most farmers have experienced with old treadle pumps.

Said Viljoen: “Farmers have found the pump easy and comfortable to operate. At the same time, the pump has features that one will not have so many challenges to use when you look at its size, length of handles as well as its shape.

“The pump is also easy for people with disabilities to operate where one is able to use his or her hands or arms due to its softness and make.”

He added that his company was in the process of setting up distribution networks across Malawi so that soon the implement is in every district where he said they will have sales representatives.

As one way of making agriculture officials and farmers aware of the pump, the Business Development Manager said they have done and will continue holding open days or agricultural days in order to bring the pump to the people. The pump sells at around $220 (approximately MK170, 000).

Jimson Banda, Extension Officer under Chikwawa District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) said he found the product very useful.

“Chikwawa District faces a lot of challenges   like erratic rains, and introduction of the new treadle pumps is a relief to the challenges the country, Chikwawa in particular is passing through.

“However, the price of the product is a limiting factor looking at the farmers who can afford it. I would ask the company to subsidize it to enable local farmers to buy the product,” said Banda.

He emphasized that the district has plenty of water that communities can use for irrigation farming.

“Apart from getting water from the Shire River, the pump is quite convenient to even pump water from some shallow wells. I think and believe the pump can easily be used to tap water from such sources in order to irrigate our crops so that we are able to achieve food security,” he said.

‘Saajhi’ according to Viljoen, originated from the word ‘Saajhedaari’ or ‘Partnership’, a term commonly used in India to address an ally, shareholder, or partner in business.

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