Since beginning registering farmers in July 2019, we have registered over 1,300 farmers with plots totaling more than 780 acres, and growing.
Our clients are typical smallholders. Based on likelihood measures*, 47% of our customers are below $1.9/day and based on client-reported income, 65% of them earn less than this.
We evaluate the impact of our services by tracking incomes between farmers using our services and nearby farmers who for circumstantial reasons, cannot qualify or prefer other methods of irrigation. We do this to see how our service compares in terms of cost to other alternatives and how much income farmers earn from the irrigated crops they grow. When we onboard a farmer, we do a baseline questionnaire, and follow up with a questionnaire after each season with a sample of farmers.
From our work so far, we have been able to estimate impact from a few types of evidence.
Adoption of Water Pumps
Among customers, we want to know how many would not have used a water pump if the service was not present. While we cannot know for certain , we asked farmers at the end of their harvest what would have happened if the service was not available. Among them, 13% reported that they would have hired another pump. This was consistent with the farmers who couldn’t qualify for service, among which about 9% hired another pump.
Making Pumping Affordable
Using our irrigation service was on average less than one third of the cost of using other water pumps available in the area. To irrigate the average sized plot among farmers in the area (~2000 square meters), using the system was about $31 less than the other pumping options. The average farmer using a water pump irrigated ~6 times, so using our service would save them about $186 per season.
At the end of each season, we ask farmers how they think the irrigation service affected their crop. When farmers mention they would have lost yield, we ask them to estimate what percent they think was lost by not irrigating at the time they used the service. Based on the income they earned for the season, we can estimate the value of this lost yield. On average, farmers estimated over 50% estimated loss if they didn’t irrigate using the service. About 40% of farmers estimate they would have lost their crop entirely due to drought. The average value of this lost crop was $233 per season.
Encouraging Dry Season Planting
Some farmers mention they would not have planted during the dry season at all if our service was not available. These farmers on average earned $175 during the season. About 25% of respondents said they would not have planted at all if the service was not available.