Volta Irrigation

"Think of Productivity...Volta is Here..."

A human-powered, community-based irrigation system by stationary bicycles to help smallholder farmers more productive and triple their yield

Use Case

350 million humans in Africa depend on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood. Sadly, they continue to be locked in the daily cycle of hunger because smallholder farmers are unable to grow enough food. This is mainly due to the fact that 90% of smallholder farmers in Africa rely on rainfed agriculture which is neither reliable nor sustainable. Their demand for irrigation systems, i.e. electric pump, diesel pump and solar pumps is increasing. However, due to the high cost of buying, running, and maintaining these systems, smallholder farmers are unable to use them. The majority of these smallholder farmers rely on and use traditional human-powered water-lifting devices which are slow, cumbersome and require high labour inputs to irrigate their small plots of farmland.

Potential

The World Bank states “Agriculture is two to four times more effective than other sectors in reducing poverty, and irrigation alone can increase the agriculture output of Africa by 50%.” Volta Irrigation aims to reduce the cost of irrigation and help smallholder farmers break their cycle of poverty by increasing their productivity. The current situation for a typical smallholder farmer in Africa is that he has to travel 60 km a week which is equivalent to 12 hrs a week to irrigate his quarter hectare of land. Our solution will reduce that time by 12 times. This innovation will enable smallholder farmers to increase their yield and income by five times. With our solution, we will be supporting the Rwandan government exceed their target of irrigating 100,000 hectares of land by 10% by 2020.

Business Case

Volta Irrigation is committed to creating a community-based irrigation system to help smallholder farmers easily irrigate their farmlands. We have built an irrigation system that is low-cost, community shared and designed explicitly for small plots of land, using stationary bicycles to expedite the irrigation process. We partner with local manufacturers and local farming cooperative unions to build and set up our system respectively. We are collaborating with cooperative farming unions to find a feasible way to access a pool of smallholder farmers. These farmers will pay a seasonal (4 months avg.) subscription fee of $24 which is a third of their current cost. They will pay this fee through their cooperative unions who will, in turn, transfer the payment to Volta irrigation.

Objectives:

  1. To triple the avg. income of a smallholder farmer in Africa (from 94 to 282 USD), enabling them to break their cycle of poverty and hunger.
  2. To achieve food security across Africa by increasing the agriculture output of smallholder farmers, enabling them to be more productive.
  3. To create jobs for local manufacturers who will enable us to make our irrigation technology accessible to smallholder farmers across Africa.

Team Volta Irrigation

Kigali, Rwanda

Our Team

Our Mission

Volta Irrigation is a team of productivity experts who are improving the lives of smallholder farmers by using an innovative solution that solves the irrigation problem in Africa. We plan on transforming the lives of 170,000 people in Rwanda in our 1st year of operation. With time, we plan to scale to the rest of Africa and thus impacting the lives of 350 million people. Our project, Volta Irrigation aims to impact the lives of smallholder farmers in Africa by increasing their yield by 5 times.

Our Background

We are a diverse team of change-makers from across Africa currently studying at the African Leadership University. Despite having 60% of the world's arable land, 350 million Africans remain locked in the daily cycle of hunger. This is because 90% of smallholder farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture which is neither reliable or sustainable. The tff challenge enabled us to create a new system of irrigation that will solve the problem of hunger and ultimately break the cycle of poverty in Africa.

Our Team

Our Mission

Volta Irrigation is a team of productivity experts who are improving the lives of smallholder farmers by using an innovative solution that solves the irrigation problem in Africa. ...Read More

Our Background

We are a diverse team of change-makers from across Africa currently studying at the African Leadership University. Despite having 60% of the world's arable land, 350 million Africans ...Read More

Our Badges

  • Power Team
    Your team has at least three members
  • Design Lab Experts
    Attended at least one of the weekly TFF Design Lab “office hours” sessions.
  • We Famous
    Your project has been covered by your university or other media outlet
  • Get #Social
    Created team Facebook or Twitter page and attached to team page
  • Fan Club
    You have 100 likes or followers on your team Facebook or Twitter
  • Interior Architect
    Posted three pictures of your team workspace
  • Idea Parkers
    Shared a picture of your teams unique “idea parking”
  • Global Foodies
    Posted three facts about global food issues learned in the Explore mode
  • Insight + Insight + Insight
    Shared three new insights your team formulated in the Define mode
  • On Time, On Target
    Shared your Design Statement created during the Define mode
  • Post-it Fiends
    Shared pics of the chaos of the post-it filled Ideate work mode
  • Brain Food
    In the Ideate intro video, Richard shares an important tip while eating an apple. Share a team-apple-eating pic!
  • Expert Input
    Shared three pieces of expert feedback on your concept
  • GIF Masters
    Shared a GIF of the prototype building frenzy
  • Live Testing
    Shared a video of a user testing your concept
  • Way To Go
    Shared a picture of your plan for iterating your project
  • Etch-A-Sketch
    Shared your logo sketching session on your team blog
  • WE DID IT!!
    Submitted Final Pitch, including videos and concept details
  • Introduction
    Completed the Introduction section of the Design Lab
  • Explore
    Completed the Explore section of the Design Lab
  • Define
    Completed the Define section of the Design Lab
  • Ideate
    Completed the Ideate section of the Design Lab
  • Conceptualize
    Completed the Conceptualize section of the Design Lab
  • Prototype
    Completed the Prototype section of the Design Lab
  • Test
    Completed the Test section of the Design Lab
  • Iterate
    Completed the Iterate section of the Design Lab
  • Pitch
    Completed the Pitch section of the Design Lab
The information contained here represents student project ideas developed as the result of brainstorming activities during Round 1 of the TFF Challenge. It does not represent any final business plans or commercial products.