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The Pump That Thunders

The First iDE Branded, Zambian Made Treadle Pump

Since their introduction in Zambia, treadle pumps have been produced internationally and imported, making them prohibitively expensive for Zambian small-scale farmers. iDE responded by producing a locally manufactured pump that beats imported pumps in terms of output, quality, and price. In July 2009 the first finished pumps began shipping to farmers.

Designed by resident iDE irrigation engineer and Zambia technical team head Peter Elkind, iDE's "Mosi-o-Tunya" brand Pressure Pump has been tested extensively at iDE Zambia (see photo), consistently pumping 1.2 to 1.5 liters of irrigation water per second—a higher rate than competing pumps—lifting effectively from a 6 meter well depth to ground level, and an additional 6 meters from pump to field level. Its stepped treadles and easy operation make it acceptable for both men and women small-scale farmers, and its light footprint allows for easy transport by foot or bicycle.

The name "Mosi-o-Tunya" comes from the Tonga language name for Victoria Falls, which translates as "The Smoke That Thunders," thus iDE's "Pump That Thunders." iDE was granted official permission from the Zambia National Heritage Conservation Commission to use the name of the falls as our brand. In return, iDE Zambia provided repairs to the wooden staircase leading up into the famous "Lookout Tree" at Zambia's Victoria Falls UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As a result of its quality and affordability in comparison to imported pumps, current demand is outpacing supply. Local manufacturers have quickly realized the potential of the pump, and are scaling up production accordingly.

By providing both local manufacturers and local farmers an affordable means of significantly increasing their income, The "Mosi-o-Tunya" brand pressure pump exemplifies iDE's sustainable approach to development.


Do you want to be at the forefront of the affordable technology revolution? Your contribution to this initiative will help us develop and market the next wave of affordable, low impact, income enhancing technologies, like low pressure crop sprinklers that can work with drip irrigation systems, and a low-cost water storage bag that can hold 10,000 liters (2,642 gallons) of monsoon rainwater for use during the dry season.