Aanleiding van het project
Lindsay and Stichting Wageningen Research, Wageningen Environmental Research (WENR) have collaborated intensively in 2014. The activities focused on combining the expertise of both partners with local needs in Ethiopia. Both parties wanted to extend their collaboration to contribute to solutions that go beyond the specific areas in Wageningen and Lindsay have been working in Ethiopia. This lead to the creation of the ‘Ethiopia Water Initiative’.
Doel van het project
1. The main objective of this initiative was to make hi-tech innovative and sustainable irrigation solutions such as custom-hirable water sprinklers (called hose-reels) and custom designed centre-pivots to adopt by key stakeholders in the Government and the Private sector in Ethiopia (including entrepreneurs and farmers).
This lead to a better use of the available water and a better distribution amongst farmers. Hence a higher food production and improvement of food quality was foreseen.
2. Strengthening the Dutch business case for water and food in Ethiopia. WENR wanted to create opportunities in the Netherlands and Ethiopia for other business partners to join the consortium.
Omschrijving van de activiteiten
Product innovation to fit the local Ethiopian situation; for instance, products needed to be customized to suit the situation of Ethiopian farmers who have smaller land holdings, compared to countries such as USA where the land holdings are much larger. Also the products should be conceived as a concept which was a package involving other peripheral components rather than the core product per se. For instance, in the case of the hose reel which is widely used in the Western World, the product was offered as a standard equipment which can be bought by a farmer. In the case of Ethiopia where the awareness, affordability and applicability (given small land holdings) was a challenge, the standard product offering should be made into a concept which is an irrigation solution theme which is custom-hirable by the hour by the farmer from a solution provider who is an agri-entrepreneur. To the agri-entrepreneur, the product consisted not just the standard hose reel but included a tractor, a booster pump and also water tankers, all combined as a product offering which can be custom hired by a farmer.
Increasing the network in Ethiopia. WENR which is co-owner of this initiative has been acknowledged as a top-notch knowledge institution committed to sustainable initiatives through business innovation at the highest level and apex think-tank and top policy makers in Ethiopia (including ministers and bureaucrats both at Union and State Government levels). We could capture the mind space of top industry leaders as well thereby increasing our network in the country. The network can be leveraged upon to garner other assignments which directly have a Dutch technology solution. This project also focused on identifying possibilities in other countries in the (wider) region, e.g. Sri Lanka, Vietnam and California.
Lindsay and WENR combined the best of already available technology and experience with new scientific insights to adapt irrigation technology to the situation and circumstances in different Ethiopian regions. Only by modifications of existing technologies and/or adding services to the existing portfolio, a suitable and viable solution for improving irrigation can be found. The combination of technology development, test casing and building governance structures and capacity with stakeholders is new for this type of irrigation systems.
The Ethiopia Water initiative planned to organize discussion rounds for stakeholders in Ethiopia and the Netherlands. In Ethiopia the meetings focused on dissemination of the newly developed solutions. The meetings in the Netherlands have been focusing on adding Dutch knowledge and partners to the consortium and identifying opportunities in other regions around the world.