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Pumping for prosperity

PUMPS

The demand for food is expected to grow substantially by 2050. A major factor for this increase is world population growth. With agriculture under pressure to increase output, pumps are increasingly being recognized as the mainstay of the sector. Few people would visualize a pump when asked to think about agriculture. Yet, pump systems play an integral role in farming operations – especially on large commercial smallholdings. To increase productivity and remain competitive in the market, farmers are moving away from the humble water pump and increasingly wanting complex, bespoke systems that meet their direct needs. According to agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo, the agricultural sector offers a major opportunity for African countries to slingshot their economies out of the doldrums. But, he warns, agriculture is changing rapidly and relying on the ways of the past will no longer suffice. He says African governments need a fresh look at agriculture that involves embracing technology. Grundfos product manager Stephen Venter says highefficiency pumping solutions are part of this new approach. “Modern farming requires technology that can free the farmer from physically checking the equipment in the field which is time-consuming and inefficient in terms of additional costs, fuel wasted on driving to and around the fields not to mention labour and other costs.” Easy-to-use and fully integrated pumping systems are allowing farmers to make groundbreaking changes that not only saves time and money but also ensures energy

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Pipes, Pumps and Valves Africa - May/Jun 2021

optimization and better use of water resources. Globally about 1% of mega farmers produce between 20 to 40% of the output. These operations are run by professional management teams that are completely focused on productivity gains. High investments are typically made in technology and efficiency measures. In South Africa, about 250 farms of this nature are under irrigation, but at least 2000 farms are part of the 9% of farmers that generate some 50% of the overall value. This category also pursues efficiency. Another 18 000 farmers, however, are in the small farming category. “Many of these farmers just rely on a local ‘pump guy’ who in turn buys from traditional distributors. The approach is usually quite conservative.” In the emerging farmer sector, there are millions of farmers that have no resources and are struggling to make ends meet. What this highlights, says Venter, is the major opportunity to transform farming operations with well-designed, highly efficient and cost-effective pump solutions. Selecting a pump At Grundfos, much emphasis is placed on making the right pump decision from the get-go. The OEM has a long history in the agricultural sector considering that the very first

Profile for Lifting Africa

Pipes, Pumps & Valves Africa May/Jun 2021  

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