Performance of bucket drip irrigation powered by treadle pump on tomato and maize/bean production in Malawi
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The performance of a bucket drip irrigation system (BDI) powered by treadle pump was evaluated on tomato and intercropped maize/bean crops, between 2005 and 2007 in Malawi. It was a split plot experiment with three replicates. The BDI system consisted of a 1,300-l tank mounted 1.5 m above ground and connected with a 32-mm mainline and 15-mm lateral lines spaced at 1 m by 0.6 m. A treadle pump was used to uplift water to the tank. Tomato and intercropped maize/bean were irrigated every 4 days. The system reduced labour and water by > 25% and it showed high uniform application depth and wetted diameter. Yields were significantly different between tomato varieties (P < 0.05). Maize/bean yields were highly significantly different between monoculture, intercropping system and bean varieties (P < 0.001). Consequently, an economic analysis shows that there is a significant difference, in terms of net income, between the various crop enterprises. Tomato was more valuable with BDI, compared to maize and beans. It can be concluded that BDI, powered by a treadle pump, saves labour and time and it provides uniform irrigation for crop production. Therefore, tomato is recommended for use with this system, compared to maize and bean.
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