Smart irrigation for family farmers
Proximity Designs and its team of designers, engineers and agronomists create and sell low-cost durable products and services to thousands of family farmers in rural Myanmar. Between 2018 and 2020, we supported their efforts to design, produce and market affordable innovative irrigation technologies adapted to farmers’ needs in the country’s main farming areas. Over 59,300 farm families adopted their irrigation products, contributing to an average increase of $290 in their annual incomes.
Small farms are the epicentre of poverty around the world. Nowhere is that truer than in Myanmar, where 70% of the population relies on agriculture and 84% of rural households lack electricity. The technological advances of the past 50 years have bypassed Myanmar’s farmers, who not only lack access to basic farm technologies, knowledge and credit, but are also extremely vulnerable to climate risks and changing weather patterns.
Proximity Designs creates, produces and sells low-cost, low-tech equipment to small farmers with the aim of helping them increase and stabilise their production and income for food, health care, farm re-investment and education.
“It’s about giving people choice and therefore dignity. We don’t decide what people need, they tell us through the marketplace whether our products are valuable.”
Irrigation technologies are a particularly promising means of addressing many of the difficulties facing small farmers, as most still rely on inefficient antiquated methods of drawing water or use diesel pumps for “flood” irrigation practices. Water saving technologies such as sprinkler, mist and drip systems offer compelling value for small farmers as they conserve water and improve yields, reduce the need for pesticides and often lead to higher-quality crop harvests.
Between 2018 and 2020 we supported Proximity Designs’ efforts to design, produce and market affordable innovative irrigation technologies in the country’s six main farming areas (Ayeyarwady Delta, Lower Myanmar, the Dry Zone and the Shan hills).
A new ground sprayer for tree-crops such as mango, durian and papaya, a valve connector to control water flow and a warranty on all pipes and pumps are just a few examples of the new innovations successfully launched during the programme to meet the rapidly evolving needs of Myanmar’s farmers.
Over 59,300 farmers adopted Proximity’s irrigation products contributing to an average increase of $290 in their annual incomes.
According to a recent impact assessment, the use of Proximity’s irrigation products enabled famers to save 60% of irrigation time (144 hours per year) and an average of $32 in fuel costs per year.