Drip irrigation and manure application for vegetable and fodder production | Natural Resource Management (Soil and Water Conservation)

Sub Saharan Africa is faced with prolonged droughts leading toacute water shortages, which greatly hampers crop as well as animalproductivity. However, this can be mitigated through adoption of waterharvesting technologies that can support micro irrigation. The technologyinvolves the use of rain water harvesting techniques (water tanks, microcatchment holes and shallow wells) integrated with drip irrigation kits incombinat Read more..

Description of the technology or innovation

Sub Saharan Africa is faced with prolonged droughts leading toacute water shortages, which greatly hampers crop as well as animalproductivity. However, this can be mitigated through adoption of waterharvesting technologies that can support micro irrigation. The technologyinvolves the use of rain water harvesting techniques (water tanks, microcatchment holes and shallow wells) integrated with drip irrigation kits incombination with manure application to ensure year-round availability ofvegetables and fodder.

Assessment/reflection on utilization, dissemination & scaling out or up approaches used

The primary target for this technology are the smallholder dairyfarmers. Participatory testing through farmer groups facilitated skills,knowledge and information sharing and was instrumental in protecting andempowering marginalized members. The technology has been validated in Uganda,Kenya and Tanzania. In Uganda, rain water harvesting tanks of about 15,000 to35,000 litres were constructed in four households in Masaka. Roof catchmentabove-ground tanks have been constructed at some of the participatinghomesteads in Kenya. Micro catchment holes (tumbukiza) and shallow wells werealso dug in fodder fields and other locations to demonstrate simple waterharvesting and conservation techniques. These were integrated with dripirrigation techniques and cattle manure application in vegetable and foddergardens. Drip irrigation kits were also supplied to facilitate year roundvegetable (cabbage) production in eight households in Masaka. Farmers reportedthat cabbage production in the irrigated and manured plots was 40% higher thanin plots without the interventions. A total of 23 households in Wote andMachakos in Kenya also received kits for tomato production.

Current situation and future scaling up

This technology package harnesses excess rain water, and uses dripirrigation and manure to improve crop production and productivity.Dissemination of the technology through farmer groups using participatorytesting is expected to reach more farmers in the intervention countries (Kenya,Tanzania and Uganda). This TIMP appeals more to women who are usually in chargeof vegetable and dairy enterprises in the household. The technology supportsanimal and crop production especially during periods of extended dry spells.Although ideal for drought prone areas, afflicted by water stress, thetechnology is also suitable for off-season crop production in wetter regions.

Figure 1:Rain water harvesting tank at household level. Mr. Ddaki and his wife standnext to the water tank

Economic Considerations

By enabling off season vegetable and fodder production, thetechnology can boost household incomes as these enterprises can be veryprofitable off-season. Economic analysis from 6 farms in Kenya with reasonablyreliable data on cost of inputs and value of outputs showed that thebenefit-cost ratio ranged from 1.5:1 to 8.6:1, indicating that with dripirrigation there is a potential for a farmer to earn 7.60 KShs for everyshilling invested. For the cost of the drip kit, it was estimated that withgood care the kit would last for 5 years (10 seasons), in which case the costwas distributed uniformly over 10 seasons. With drip irrigation, some of thefarmers have been able to more than double the yields of their vegetable crops.For example, a farmer in Eastern Kenya, Ms. Rose Musokya, planted tomatoes inpits on the remaining portion of the land set aside for vegetable productionusing spot irrigation. Drip irrigation covered an area of 90 m2while the area under spot irrigation was 256 m2. She harvested 671kg of tomatoes (fresh weight) from the drip irrigated plot (9.53 kg/m2equivalent to 95.3 t/ha), and 639 kg from the spot-irrigated area (2.49 kg/m2,equivalent to 24.9 t/ha), indicating that with drip irrigation the farmer wasable to increase her tomato yields by 4 times.

Gender considerations

The technology is gender-neutral and isintended to benefit all members of the community, including vulnerable andmarginalized groups. The technology particularly addresses the context andsituation of women farmers, who are majorly engaged in vegetable and fodderproduction at household level.

Case study or profiles of success stories

Nakayiki Rose,Chairperson, Butale Balunzi Twegatte Group, Butale village, Bukoto sub-county,Kabonera

Ms. Nakayiki is involved in vegetable growing and zero grazing. Priorto the intervention of the NaLIRRI-ASARECA project, group members used tosuffer losses due to long droughts, lack of markets for their vegetables andmilk. The quality and quantity of milk was low. The group acquired a solardryer, under-ground water tank and treadle pump for irrigation of vegetables,watering animals and pasture seed, (lablab), training on ghee processing aswell as group dynamics and saving.





The group members process and sell their vegetables at competitiveprices. With improved animal feeding, the quality and quantity of milk hasincreased and the group has a milk collection centre. The farmers also market theirmilk collectively as a group which earns them higher profits. With increasedvegetable and milk production, nutrition has improved in the families and theincome from the sale of milk and vegetables has helped them educate theirchildren. Also, income generated by farmers was used to start a savings scheme forthe group where members are allowed to borrow at a very low interest.


Stephine Korrya neighbour to Nakayiki also belongs to this group (Butale Balumi BalunziTwegate)

Ms. Stephine Korry has been practicing zero grazing since 1999.She received the first in-calf cow from the World Vision. She received pastureseed from the NaLIRRI-ASARECA project and planted one acre. With improvedpastures, milk production increased by two (2) litres. She has also gained fromanimal manure which she applies on her vegetables for better yields. This hasenabled her earn money to educate her children and has improved nutrition inher family. She has also been able to supply milk to breast feeding mothers inher neighborhood. She has a nursery school and pupils with their teachersbenefit from the milk she produces.


“I appreciatethe intervention by NARO-ASARECA project by providing pasture seeds and I planto expand my plots to produce more pastures for conservation” says Ms.Stephine”.



Apolot JaneEmurai from Osigiria Western Ward, Ngora T/C

Ms Jane Apolot is grateful to NaLIRRI-ASARECA project because ofthe interventions they introduced in their district. Due the trainings attendedin vegetable production, she has been able to produce enough vegetables forhome consumption. She also sells the surplus to generate income. She used tofind challenges in getting money to pay for her children’s school fees. Sheagreed with the school administration to supply the school with vegetables tocover up for the children’s fees. This has reduced the burden on her since sheis not required to raise the full tuition at once. Apart from the school, shesupplies the community around her and the markets in the town council. Also membersfrom the community assist her in carrying out some of the activities such seedbed preparation and in the end she gives them seedlings so that they are ableto establish their own vegetable gardens.


“Vegetablegrowing reduces domestic violence since women become independent and generateincome to cover home needs such as food”- Jane Apolot Emurai


Butale BalunziBalimi Twegate Group

The farmer group is located in Butale-Bukoto in Masaka district.It has a membership of 12 members. The group received improved pasture seeds,vegetable seeds and solar dryers from NaLIRRI-ASARECA project as well astraining in savings. The group members had earlier on received dairy cows fromMasaka Diocesan Development Organization (MADDO) with exception of one member whoreceived cows from World Vision- International. They admitted to have facedchallenges of feed resources (pastures) and water availability for domestic useand watering their animals. The technologies and knowledge provided by theproject has significantly improved livelihoods of the group members and theircommunity. Working in a group has helped them sell their milk collectively tofetch better prices. They sell their milk to Masaka town. They have alsoenjoyed a lot of publicity in the media and they are always invited to exhibittheir products (especially dried vegetables) on various exhibitions such as theUganda Manufacturer’s Association (UMA) show in Jinja. They also planned toparticipate in another UMA exhibition organized at Lugogo show ground.


“I appreciateNaLIRRI-ASARECA interventions especially the training in vegetable drying” saysMs. Nampima Florence another member of Butale Balimi Balunzi Twegate Group. Itsaves them the waste that was incurred before whereby they lacked the knowledgeof preserving vegetables. The drying process helps them not only preserve butalso sell their vegetables outside their communities so as to earn an extraincome and send their children to school. Members are able to save Ug. Shs5,000 a week which they deposit into their SACCO and any member can borrow fromSACCO at low interest of 2%. Members grow the vegetables in their individualgardens at their homes but bring the harvest to the chairperson for drying. Theproduct is also sold as a group and afterwards each member is given her/hisshare with a small deduction for the packaging materials. The same applies tothe marketing of their milk which is sold to MAADO dairy. The group members payUg. Shs 50,000 to the transporter per month and this cost is shared by membersas follows: members with 10litres and above give Shs. 8,000 per month and thosebelow, contribute Shs 5,000. Working as a group has helped them to benefit frommany trainings and exchange visits”.

Contact details

Jolly Kabirizi;

Lead Scientist, National Livestock Resources Research Institute(NaLIRRI);

P. O. Box 96;

Tororo, Uganda.

Mob: +256-777912716

Tel: +256 45448360

Email: jmkabirizi@gmail.com


Donald Njarui;

Scientist, KARLO-Katumani Research Center;

P. O. Box 340-90100

Nairobi, Kenya.

Tel: +254-44-20495; +254-20-4183720

Fax: +254-44-21122

Mobile: +254-726345712

Email: donaldnjarui@yahoo.com


Suleiman Kaganda;

Scientist, National Livestock Research Institute (NLRI), Mabuki;

P. O. Box 352;

Mwanza, Tanzania.

Tel: +255-754469354; +255-784936202

Mob: +255-282501079

Email: skaganda2001@yahoo.co.uk


Jean Nizigama;

Scientist, Mahwa Research Station;

P. O. Box 149;

Bujumbura, Burundi.

Tel: +257-79958038; +257-22-227602

Email: nizijean1@yahoo.fr


Jean Ndikumana;

Programme Manager Livestock and Fisheries Programme, ASARECA;

P. O. Box 765;

Entebbe Uganda.

Tel: +256-414-321885

Mob: 256-772798627

Email: j.ndikumana@asareca.org


Sarah Mubiru;

Programme Assistant, Livestock and Fisheries Programme ASARECA;

P. O. Box 765;

Entebbe, Uganda.

Tel: +256-414-321885

Mob: 256-772798627

Email: sarah2mubiru@yahoo.com

Additional information

Lessons learnt indicatethat participatory testing of technologies is key to the adoption ofinnovations and leads to improved food and feed security as well as householdincome. The other lesson is that farmer groups facilitate sharing ofinformation, knowledge and skills and subsequently protect and empowermarginalized members


Kabirizi, J.M, Njarui, D.M.G., Itabari, J.K., Kaganda, S.,Nakiganda, A., Nanyennya, W.N. and Nizigama, J. 2012. Enhancing smallholderdairy production through participatory evaluation of forages, soil fertilityand water harvesting innovations in ECA region.(In press).


Kabirizi, J.M. 2006. Effect of integrating forage legumes insmallholder dairy production systems on feed availability and animalperformance. PhD Thesis. Makerere University.


Kabirizi, J.M., Njarui D.M.G., Nakiganda, A., Kaganda, S.,Nizigama, J. and Itabari, J.K. 2010. Crop-livestock integration for sustainablemanagement of natural resources and building livestock resilience. ECA regionbaseline survey report.

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