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Drip Irrigation with Netafim gives water back to SA

22 Aug 2014

Green house

In an article featured in Business Day in April last year, journalist Sue Blaine expressed concern over the fact that there  is not enough fresh water in South Africa to go around and that farmers are their own worst enemies when it comes to water management.  She shared the following statistics: “While farmers are not solely to blame, agriculture is allocated the largest portion of South Africa’s available fresh water, with about 63% going to irrigation.  This is sobering when it is considered that only 12% of South Africa’s landmass is considered arable and only 3% "truly fertile".  Only 1.5% of the land is under irrigation, producing 30% of the country’s crops.” 

Etienne Erasmus, Managing Director of Netafim South Africa, offered the following insight:

“The dire dilemma facing farmers today is the fact that we have fewer producers, yet in order to feed our ever-growing population, we still have to generate more and more, whilst remaining financially viable.  With so few factors really working in our favour this is easier said than done!”



The latest pressures centering around the effective utilisation of water is a well-known subject currently gaining momentum. Producers are required to produce more crops with less water!

In the abovementioned article, titled, “Agriculture is putting SA in deep water“; Blaine’s sources claim that producers get away with a lot, alluding to the fact that there is not enough respect for the effective use of this resource.  The price of water is too low, the use of water is not regulated, and the unlawful use of water is also increasing (Sue Blaine: Mr. Nigel Adams, Director, Department of Waterworks).  There is not enough pressure on producers to look at irrigation holistically.

She also mentions that there is an increasing consciousness regarding water as well as further role players entering the debate.  Large retailers such as Pick & Pay and Woolworths have started working with producers to ensure that farming practices are sustainable with less impact on the environment.  According to Mr Justin Smith from Woolworths, their holistic approach “Farming for the Future” is doing very well and that they have achieved notable success and savings due to correct water management.

Says Etienne: “I don’t think the producers realise what a large role Netafim can play in this regard.  Netafim has influence in two spheres, firstly as producer of drip irrigation materials, and secondly for having experienced staff with in-depth knowledge regarding the successful use of drip irrigation systems.”

It is commonly known that drip irrigation can be 95% effective, but requires correct application and continuous management to derive the benefits. 



Producers using Netafim drippers therefore need to ensure that they involve the free advice of a Netafim Agriculturist and partner with them, to ensure that they derive the maximum benefit from their irrigation systems.

The best time to have such a discussion with Netafim is during the planning phase thereby ensuring that the correct dripper is chosen and that the tempo of delivery as well as the spacing is appropriate for the specific crop and soil type.  The next step is to explain scheduling methods and equipment. This no longer involves a guessing game as reliable equipment exists to accurately measure the amount of water in the soil.

There is no doubt that drip irrigation saves water, enabling the producer to grow more with less! They only have to give Netafim a call.

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