Nelly Bassily | February 18, 2008
The treadle pump, or pedal pump, is a concept that was born in Bangladesh and quickly spread through Asia and Africa. The idea came from a report which found that motorized pumps and large wells were so costly that their operators became a veritable oligarchy of “water lords”. Pedal pumps came to the aid of poor, small-scale farmers. Made in small workshops with simple supplies, the pumps allowed farmers to water their crops themselves and thereby produce a second harvest during the dry season.
But the treadle pump isn’t the only method of obtaining water for dry-season farming.
You may wish to consult the DCFRN script “A Community Builds a Groundwater Dam to Solve its Water Problems” (Package 71, Script 7, June 2004), which describes another solution for small-scale farming.
You may also wish to visit the following web resources related to the use of treadle pumps:
-A video that demonstrates the use of a treadle pump on a farm in Malawi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NElp0GQ-iMI
-An audio recording of an expert from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization explaining the advantages of pedal pumps for small farmers (in French only): ftp://ext-ftp.fao.org/Radio/MP3/2001/Treadle-pumps-T-Brabben.mp3
-An article that explains the economic, social, and environmental advantages of the treadle pump: http://www.w-3-w.ch/english/pep_leaflet_ch.pdf
-An article that describes an irrigation project to assist small-scale farmers in Zambia and Ethiopia: http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=a218b993-e00e-4135-997e-58c6eea480d8