Transforming farmers toward innovation
Oct 05 2021
Arid and semi-arid countries are characterized by hot summers and wet winters with variation of rainfall during the year, as well as from year to year. Based on the climate change projections of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Report 2020, the predictable climate change is expected to worsen the existing water problems in these countries.
Farming is the major sector where there is high amount of water consumption in many of these hot countries. The type of crop and irrigation method plays an important role, not just in addressing the profitability of the crop at a certain farm or across the agricultural industry, but on the total water consumption in that country. Therefore, farmer’s behavior towards their lands is not just important for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the whole society.
Water technologies especially drip irrigation with its’ various types, can play a major role in reducing water consumption if installed and managed properly. However, decision makers and NGOs always find it difficult to convince farmers to adopt these technologies in their farms. The main reason behind this problem, is the high initial cost of such technologies, the need for regular maintenance, and the farmers belief that this high cost will not realize financial benefits in terms of water and energy savings. Moreover, many of them have the ancient belief that when the ground is fully submerged with water the crop will grow faster and healthier. This is obviously not the case, as no one thinks that filling their cup of coffee beyond the cup limits provides a much better caffeine boost in the morning. Finally, getting accustomed to a new technology takes time, and mistakes happen along the way, which might result in damaging or reducing the crop’s growth. Such loss is always inacceptable for the farmer, and always blamed on the new technology.