Patrick Padde is a farmer in the village Kwapa, Uganda, close to the Kenyan border. Patrick owns a farm of 5 acres however he had only been able to use 3 acres, but that was until he started using Azuri’s GrowFast Solar Irrigation System.
Patrick has been using the Azuri’s GrowFast irrigation system for the last three months, and between December to February, there was rain. If he didn’t have his solar irrigation systems he wouldn’t have been able to work his farm. Patrick is also a member of the Kwapa Farmers Association which promoted the GrowFast irrigation system to its members. As one of the first recipients of the system, Patrick agreed to show his neighbours how to use it and discuss the benefits he found to the Farmers Association.
Farmers in Uganda rely on the rains and during the dry season, they often water crops by hand with a watering can. Farmers are traditionally ‘idle’ during this time, and during the growing season, farmers are restricted on the watering that they can provide by hand to their crops.
Following the traditional farming calendar in Uganda means that farmers often produce the same crops at the same times and are without crops to sell during the dry season meaning that income is irregular and crop prices are lower in times of high supply.
Patrick has been busy on his farm since he began using the GrowFast irrigation system. He has been able to raise seedlings, transplant them to his fields and harvest crops at a time when he has previously been ‘idle’. In the last three months, Patrick has been able to harvest and sell onions, chillies, greens and cabbages. He has obtained high prices for his produce as few other farmers are able to supply.
The additional money to his household has enabled him to send his two sons, Aaron and Clinton to a prestigious school in Western Uganda. He has been able to invest in new varieties of onion where the seed is more expensive but where he can expect higher yields and less perishable onions with better resistance to pests and disease. With his chilli plants, Patrick is collecting seed for himself but also with a view to selling to his neighbours.
When showing us his second crop of chilli plants,
Patrick proudly tells us “these plants have not seen rain – only Azuri water”.
Patrick has been keen to demonstrate the product to the farmers in his group and shares his experience with his neighbours.
Patrick tells us that there is so much demand from the market, including over the border in Kenya, that they could all supply crops and the prices would remain high.
Azuri’s Solar Irrigation System has allowed Patrick to work more land and increase the amount that he can take to market. He has sold at high prices which have enabled him to invest in better quality seed and new varieties. Best of all, Patrick estimates that his income will triple this year and after securing the best education he can for his children, he will work to improve and expand the family home.