The Water for Food Programme is an initiative driven by the Dutch water sector and agrifood partners. Unlike other programmes, this programme supported a call for proposals requested by the sector for the development of water for food business cases. The three winning projects are well on their way. Here is a short update.
Weather Impact, New Amsterdam Consult, and the local partner Delta Research Initiative (DRI), have joined forces to provide farmers in Bangladesh daily weather forecasts, agricultural management advice, monsoon onset alerts and monthly seasonal outlooks. The first step of the project was to design weather forecasts that included parameters, visualisation, and frequency. Based on advice from DRI, the consortium agreed on three parameters and developed a field survey to assess the baseline. Data was received at the end of February, and the meteorological team was able to quickly set up the algorithm for Bangladesh and configurate the Weather4Farmers App.
The App is now fully operational in Bangladesh, both in English and Bengali. It provides location specific 6-hourly and daily weather forecasts (temperature, precipitation, windspeed, cloud coverage). It also includes alerts concerning the start of the rainy season, extreme weather, and advice on the suitability of the weather for spraying pesticide, fertilising and weeding. Farmers joined an introduction of the App by local partner DRI.
To support the business case, the consortium organised a business seminar inviting relevant Bangladeshi partners to explore ways of collaboration for commercialising their service. The meeting has led to insightful ideas and suggestions about their business model from various partners. The goals of the project are to increase farmers' capacity to make data-driven decisions about water-management, irrigation, the planting calendar and extreme weather mitigation, and to improve their resilience to climate change.
This programme is closely knit with the needs of the sector to develop a strong business case on Water for Food. We are happy to see the progress made by the three consortia. The programme gives organisations the support they need to explore the viability of their propositions. And at the same time it creates new solutions on the interlinkage between water and agrifood. A win-win!
NWP Water for Food team
Holland Greentech and TAHMO's winning Water for Food proposal centres on a pilot to improve the business case for a smart irrigation system for fruit and vegetable farmers in Kumasi, Ghana, based on local and current weather data for irrigation systems. In their first months, the consortium mapped irrigation farms around Kumasi and identified three service delivery models of smart irrigation management to pilot during the project period. The next phase of the project is to test the service delivery models. To do so, the consortium matched farmers with these models. One of the pilots involves more advanced, automated irrigation operating systems and will be offered to a specific number of farmers. The aim of the project is to lower production costs by improving the efficiency of water and energy use, and to avoid crop loss.
On 25 May, the consortium hosted a workshop with lead farmers and project representatives in Kumasi. In this meeting the consortium validated some of the smart irrigation service MVPs (Minimal Viable Product) they have developed so far, and gathered feedback on the level of interest in the various service options and on their business model. This information will support the further development of the business case and service delivery testing.
SEMiLLA Sanitation and SkillEd submitted a circular concept – also referred to as a Closed Loop Concept or CLC – in which wastewater from pit latrines in a refugee camp in Uganda is processed into valuable products such as biogas, compost and irrigation water. These products in turn are used to grow food, including fruit trees and vegetables. The implementation phase of the project has been divided into three action plan groups that focus on a farmers’ programme, the viability of a business case, and a tree nursery.
For the farmers’ programme, 25 frontrunner farmers were selected. They will be trained to use the compost and irrigation water for vegetable production, tree planting and fruit production. The activities connected to the viability of the business case were delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions but are now on their way. They include the installation of the biodigester, the start of biogas production, and the production of irrigation water and compost. Lastly, an action plan for the tree nursery that includes training modules and coaching nursery entrepreneurs is being executed.
The Water for Food Programme was initiated by the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) that saw a clear need for this type of programme in the Dutch water sector. It is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Go to the Water for Food page for more information on the programme.