Norton, Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe.
In Zimbabwe, nearly 70% of population are living in poverty, the added value of agriculture shared 18 percent of Zimbabwe's GDP. Irrigation is key to achieving increased agricultural production that is important for economic development and for attaining food security.
Solartech solar pumping system PS550-3 was applied in this project. Installation was completed at the end of September 2012 and the system started operating in October 2012. The plot is 4.5 acres and 4 acres are on drip irrigaton. The solar pumping system lifts water from a borehole 19m deep with 25m pumping head, it produces water 30,000 litres daily. The water is used to grow lettuce, green pepper, rape, cabbage, spinnach, tomatoes, beans and other vegetables. Now the farm is providing affordable garden products to the community of Norton town. Besides agricultural irrigation, the system also provides clean drinking water for 4000 broiler chickens on the same plot. "Solartech products are unique in that the competitiveness makes them affordable to the rural farmer and low to middle income earners. This is the market segment interested in the Solartech product range. The cost and poor reliability of electricity in Zimbabwe make the use of solar powered irrigation competitive in the medium term - six months to one year return on investment. Affordable food and source of income will be made available to the poor." said by farm owner, Tongai Mundiya. The Norton solar irrigation project has created direct employment for 11 people - 5 men and 6 women. It has also created downstream employment for vegetable vendors. The local economy, including agricultural production, food production are going to be sustainable in the long run by using less water and less land and less energy.