TIPA Irrigation Field Trip

Today we went to visit a TIPA project near Beer-Sheba.  TIPA is an acronym for Techno-Agriculture Innovation for Poverty Alleviation and is funded through Israel’s Foreign Affairs branch.  It was interesting to see first hand the impact a simple project like this can have on a community garden.  From similar TIPA projects in arid regions, it is not uncommon to see yields of crops triple.  Understandably, the economic benefits of such increases has a big impact on the communities and villages where they are located.

The projects are set up with a national employee of the Israeli embassy who is assigned directly to the project as a technician.  This individual has received specific training in Israel for the project and they become the person responsible for ensuring training protocols are in place for the small plot farmers.  They also work together with project coordinators to determine adequate operating procedures specific to the project locale.

What stuck out in my mind was the sharp contrast in color of the TIPA project in relation to the surrounding landscape.  It was literally like an oasis of green in the desert.  Truly amazing how the small quantities of water added can really transform the landscape.  At this particular project we viewed, they had one deep water well with an electrical submersible pump powered by a diesel generator.  The pump needs to run for approximately 4-6 hrs per day to ensure adequate water supply for the 5H.  Fortunately, our water supply at Beer-Sheba is more than adequate to provide the recommended water quantities for the irrigated area.  Currently we are advised that our maximum efficiency is to draw the water with a submersible pump at the 60 m level, at a volume range of 50-60 m³/hr.  We intend to pump 2-3 m³ on a daily basis into our retaining pond so as to keep a reserve should there be any disruptions in water supply to the gardens.

Beer-Sheba resevoir -- fills up in 3-4 rains!

As was noted in the Project Status post, we are currently working together with the Israeli Embassy here in Dakar for a funding proposal to install a TIPA project at Beer-Sheba.