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Treadle Pumps

iDE's Original Sensation

The treadle pump is a human-powered irrigation device that sits on top of a well. Pumping is activated by stepping up and down on treadles which drive pistons, creating cylinder suction that draws groundwater to the surface. Treadle pumps free farmers from dependence on rain-fed irrigation, provide capacity to raise crops in two growing seasons per year, and help farmers maximize return on their small plots of land. Pump prices, including installation, range between US$20 and $100 based on country of purchase and type of pump.

In Bangladesh, iDE played an instrumental role in popularizing treadle pump technology through focused value chain and social marketing interventions. Presently, 84 manufacturers now produce treadle pumps and 1.4 million treadle pumps have been sold to small plot Bangladeshi farmers since 1985. iDE's successful treadle program in Bangladesh stimulated organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), KickStart, and Enterprise Works to begin their own treadle pump initiatives in other countries, and triggered a groundswell of interest in the design of small-scale water technologies for poor farmers.

Read More About Treadle Pumps

The experiences of IDE in the Mass Marketing of Small-scale Affordable Irrigation Devices
Lawrence A. Egan and staff
Read article at FAO website >

The Treadle Pump in Zambia: Stepping Out of Subsistence Farming
Sabine Hiller
Download now (PDF, 1.9 MB) >

Pedaling Out of Poverty: Social Impact of a Manual Irrigation Technology in South Asia
Tushaar Shah, M. Alam, M. Dinesh Kumar, R.K. Nagar, Mahendra Singh
Download now (PDF, 1.5 MB) >

Interested in Ordering Treadle Pumps?

Click here to learn more >


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.