Water for Third World Farming

by: Brian Book

Tourists traveling the world where farming is a large part of the visual and economic landscape stare in awe at the sight of endless fields of corn, soybeans, peanuts, and wheat. What they probably don't stop and think is how all the water got there. An irrigation pump here and there goes unnoticed. If you stop and look you will see the methods of irrigation including agriculture pumps and piston pumps used to move millions of gallons of water an hour. Unfortunately, modern irrigation methods are not available everywhere they are needed.

In many third world countries the goal is to simply produce enough crops to sustain life. Moving water from underground or from a river to where it is needed, the field is many times the first step. Think about how it would be if the only means of getting water to one's crop was through the simplest of pumps; the hand pump. You know, one that requires someone to stand and move a handle up and down until enough pressure is generated to force water from the source through a pipe. In many parts of the world the simple hand pump is still the only means for extracting water from the ground. From the pump, often, the water is placed into a smaller container and carried to the field. The process is being repeated over and over until as many of the crops as possible have been watered. Not the most efficient way to pump and transport water to the area of need.

Through the UN, charitable organizations, and many conservation groups, pumps are being made available to people throughout many third world countries. Proper equipment use and conservation methods are being taught daily. With better equipment available to move water from the source to the field the outcome is almost always the same: there is more food available, which means fewer people die of hunger.

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