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Zambian agriculture would benefit from improvements in small-scale agricultural production, and reaching women is a necessity given their active participation and potential. However transitions from rainfed to irrigated agriculture can significantly alter gender relations and control in agricultural production and income (van Kloppen and Hussain 2004; Wahaj and Hart 2012). This assessment examines men’s and women’s access to and benefits from a productivity enhancing technology, an irrigation treadle pump. The importance of gender analysis for irrigation, and specifically, treadle pumps, has been highlighted in previous work in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia (Njuki et al 2014; Chancellor and O’Neill 1999; Mansigoni, 2006). This brief contributes additional insights from a recent treadle pump program in Eastern Province, Zambia.

In 1998, Kickstart developed the first of their “MoneyMaker” treadle pumps, designed to save farmers time and energy on irrigation. Resembling a mechanical Stairmaster exercise machine, foot action pushes water through a hose from a water source as deep as seven meters (7.65 yards). The most recent version, the MoneyMakerMax, was launched in 2012 with modifications that make it lighter for farmers to carry to their fields, and it is more efficient. It can irrigate up to two acres a day. Previous pumps introduced into Zambia were imported, some were considerably heavier, and they were introduced through larger irrigation schemes (Chancellor and O’Neill 1999).


Treadle Pumps