Corlina Konda Ngguna, a sumbanese woman of 42, is a head of a female farmers group called “Tapa Walla Badi”, which currently has 21 female farmers within its network. Ngunna, along with her partner, Marlina Rumba Meha initiated the group 18 years ago, and so far, have been successful in undertaking several income generating activities like running a weaving studio, vegetable and cattle farming, access to finance, etc. While 40 % of their total income comes in through weaving, the rest 60% is from Agriculture.
With agriculture being their major source of income, they spend almost seven to ten hours per day in the field. However, none of the women in this group has a land of her own. So, what they generally do is, they borrow the land from landowners who do not use the land in dry season and give it back to them when the rainy season starts. So, due to them being able to use the land only in dry season, the problem of irrigating the land gets to the level where they have to manually make hundreds of trips to the river and field, to actually get the field the amount of water it needs for a proper harvest. One can only imagine how tough it is to carry buckets full of water from the river on a hot summer day and walk to their lands like hundreds of times.
aQysta is thankful towards Komunitas Radio max FM Waingapu Foundation (KRMW Foundation) for connecting us with this farmer group, for introducing our Barsha pump among these hardworking group of women and helping Barsha pump do the job it was developed to do in the first place – Act as a helping hand for farmers. When KRMW Foundation first approached them with the idea of Barsha pump, they didn’t believe them. Diesel and electrical pumps are common to pump water. But when they heard that there’s this pump out there in the world that doesn’t require any fuel or electricity to be operated, that just runs from the energy of the flowing water, a pump that fits their exact requirement, they were excited and curious at the same time. Farmers generally rely on government’s donation to get such technologies to their field but this group of women, they got ready to pay for the pump on their own, through EASI – Pay Project, an initiative of aQysta, where farmers can get the pump now and pay for it only after they have harvested their crops and made an income from it. They instantly made the decision to use the pump for their field through this project and looked forward to making their irrigating job easier.
It has been almost 10 months now that they have been irrigating the field with Barsha pump and the time they spend now in the field is almost reduced by half. They now spend five hours per day in the field and the rest of the time they save from the use of Barsha pump, they spend it on weaving the clothes to sell, which is their secondary source of income. With the workload getting tremendously lessened as Barsha pump completely replaced the manual work of irrigation; they even increased the land area for cultivation. They used to work in 0.2 hectares of land, whereas they now work in 0.3 hectares of land. They have switched into high-value crops and with KRMW Foundation helping them choose the seeds wisely and Barsha pump helping them irrigate timely, their harvest was 3 times higher than the previous year, that too, with improved quality.
Women in Sumba have an equal responsibility as that of their counterpart in fulfilling the family needs. This all-women group is trying to fulfill their responsibility by lifting one another through collective effort in farming and weaving and aQysta is glad to be contributing in their this very endeavor and grateful for giving us a chance to justify what we claim – Innovating for Impact.