Pumps and Pineapples
PROJECT NAME: Feed the Future Guinea Agricultural Services – Strengthening Market-Led Agricultural Research, Technology, and Education (Guinea SMARTE)
SYNOPSIS: Strengthens the intersection between education and the private sector, and hastens technology adoption to transform Guinea’s agricultural sector.
YEARS ACTIVE: 2016–2019
Farmers in Guinea face a common threat to food security, agricultural production and prosperity: irrigation. The country’s rainy season is followed by a dry season that can damage or destroy key crops, such as pineapples. For farmers, supplemental irrigation during the dry season means the difference between success and failure.
“Pineapple farmers without irrigation face problems,” says Mamadou Sidibe. Sidibe is one of many young people gaining hands-on experience in agricultural extension, entrepreneurship and rural innovation through the USAID-funded Feed the Future Guinea SMARTE program, implemented by Winrock International.
The program equips entrepreneurial youth like Sidibe with the skills to pursue a career in agriculture, Guinea’s largest sector. Around 75 percent of Guineans are employed in agriculture. Without land or startup capital, however, it’s a challenge for youth to find opportunities.
An innovative solution is helping farmers combat the perils of Guinea’s dry season and providing opportunity to ambitious young entrepreneurs. Winrock identified a new irrigation technology that temporarily converts motorbikes into mobile water pumps, called a mobipompe. Powered by a small-engine motorcycle—a ubiquitous form of transportation in Guinea—a mobipompe is ideal for small- and medium-scale farms. The mobipompe kit includes intake and output tubes, as well as a mechanism to attach the pump to a motorcycle without requiring any changes to the motor. It can be connected in about 15 minutes and delivers the power of a five-horsepower pump.
Guinea SMARTE imported approximately 75 mobipompe kits and taught Sidibe and other young people to install and operate them as part of their apprenticeships. The project also provided training in business management, marketing and analytical skills to identify and reach new customers. These young entrepreneurs now demonstrate and sell the kits for $100 on consignment, a particularly appealing business model since it does not require land or startup capital.
“These mobipompes have a high importance for pineapple farmers and even the vegetable farmers,” Sidibe says. “This will help a lot of the farmers, especially the small farmers who cannot
afford to buy large-scale irrigation.”
Through Guinea SMARTE, Winrock is researching and scaling new technologies like the mobipompe that not only improve food security and increase farmer incomes, but also provide opportunities for Guinea’s most valuable resource: its young people. With the right skills and tools, young entrepreneurs like Sidibe will create the economic growth of tomorrow.