Headline June24, 2014

''' O" AFRICA : 


BUT Fisher says people in the administration of former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi had a personal interest in the continued import of palm oil from India.

The only sunflower seeds the government allowed into the country turned out to be hybrids that didn't grow well in Africa, making it difficult for the farmers to produce oil.

ApproTec finally got some traction with its line of MoneyMaker pumps including the $38 MoneyMakers plus version in 2001. The pumps address a widespread predicament:

The average Kenyan lives on half-hectare farm with eight or ten family members. As families grow in size and divide with each generation, their plots get smaller and must yield more food.

The easiest way to increase productivity is to irrigate the soil year round, but only the wealthiest few can afford motorized pumps and the fuel to run them. For this reason, during the dry season crops like:

Tomatoes are scarce and lucrative, but when it rains they're common and practically worthless. For farmers with an irrigation pump,  ''there's a huge amount of money to be made,'' says Fisher.

The challenge is getting those devices into the hands of the farmers. Where other NGOs might give them away, ApproTec uses the marketplace.

Moon compares the company's sales model to Coca-Cola's. ApproTec researches and develops its products, which includes a manual hay baler and a block press, then has factories in Kenya and Tanzania make them.

The company itself sticks to marketing, advertising in local newspapers and FM radio. On a road leading out of Nairobi, a faded yellow sign says


An arrow points to nearby nursery, whose owners are using the pump on its fields. At agriculture-supply shops like  Blue-on-Spot in Muranga , Kenya, there are ongoing exhibitions of the technology.

''People never buy a pump a without a demonstration,'' says store manager Susan Wainbui. ''We just spray the water on the street. Everybody can see it."

ApproTec also keeps a database of customers and follows up with them regularly to measure their progress.

About  40,000 farmers have bought the pump. Two out of three of the machines are still actively used. For every  $1,000 ApproTec spends in marketing, Fisher says, it creates  new farm businesses:

That make more than $20,000  in new wages and profits   -a return of  20 to one. He also estimates the devices generate  $33  million  per year in profits and wages   -about  5%  of Kenya's  GDP.

Whereas philanthropists like  Bill  Gates  pour billions in Africa  for vaccines and Aids treatment in the belief :

That a healthy population is a prerequisite for economic progress.

Moon and Fisher think it's best to start out supplying tools that African can use to build their own businesses.

Fisher confronted  Bill Gates  on the issue -some years ago- at the World Economic meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

''Everything that changed America is at work here,''  says Fisher. Gates was dismissive, but Fisher isn't alone.

 ''It's not a question of low tech, it's what you might call a people-level use of higher tech,'' says Maurice Strong, adviser to the secretary-general of the United Nations and a  WEF  fellow.

James Ndungu Mburu, a farmer in East Africa, would agree:

''If this pump was stolen, it would be like having my hand chopped off,''  he says. ''Sometimes I dream about this pump, it has become that important to me.''

Let's hope the simple machines can fulfill more dreams, as well as populate them.

With respectful dedication to Bill Gates for outstanding work and service to great causes and humanity.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

'''Ideas Wanted'''

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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