Over 90 per cent of Malawians rely on subsistence-level rainfed agriculture for their food supply. MICF supports private sector projects that are promoting new, small-scale, low-cost irrigation technologies that link smallholder producers to markets by increasing the production of crops under irrigation, leading to viable self-financed cultivation of irrigated crops.
aQysta was established in 2013, the name came from two words, ‘aqua – which means water’ and ‘quest – implying searching for something’ representing the company’s vision which is to become a global leader in the area of hydro-powered pumps. Its core activities encompass the design, production, marketing and sales of the Barsha Pump, which is aQysta’s first product. aQysta aims for local production of bulky components in order to allow large scale implementation in high demand regions/countries. Malawi has been identified as an area with significant potential in harnessing the power of the Barsha pump due to the energy potential of Malawi’s rivers and irrigation systems. The project targets customers which range from governmental and non-governmental organizations, farmer cooperatives, water user associations and individual farmers. Smallholder farmers are, in all cases, the end users.
The project aims to make irrigation available to smallholders in a way that is affordable to them and sustainable in the long term; increase the production of crops under irrigation and link them to reliable markets. In this project the company introduces the ‘Future Pump’, designed for irrigating smaller plots of land, to smallholder farmers across Malawi. The pumps will be able to lift 2,500 liters of water per hour at 1 meter and 1,600 liters of water per hour at 6 meters using solar energy. Through its Service Centre, MFT Trading will provide demonstrations, advice and training at point of sale as well as ongoing maintenance and spare parts service.
The company, through this project will installing a new water pumping station powered by solar energy to secure a combination of groundwater and surface water to be distributed through a new network of pipes to cover 100 ha of smallholder land. The company will set up a water metering system for individual farmers and bill them for the water used. The new system will allow the farmers to grow two full rotations of rice and sugar beans, which the company will support to purchase through off-taker agreements. The project aims to increase the production and productivity of the land under cultivation through a combination of winter irrigation and multi cropping which would then enable the farmers to generate sufficient income to improve their livelihood and pay for the services being provided by the company to make the project sustainable.