Floppy wins prestigious World Bank Award

Floppy Sprinkler known by many farmers has won various awards. The competition for best Innovative Ideas and Technologies endorsed by the World Bank and hosted by The Irrigation Association was held in Louisiana, USA during their annual International Irrigation Show at the end of last year. The competition focused on finding the best irrigation technology that is aimed at the world’s small agricultural holders in developing countries.
The aim of the competition is to increase public awareness of the need for innovative irrigation technologies for poor smallholders in developing countries and to encourage individuals, irrigation supply industries and research institutes to develop and identify new irrigation technologies that the World Bank and other developing organizations can promote in the community.

Entries were received from around the world and the judging criteria included:
  • Affordability and cost-to-benefit relationship;
  • Novel or creative approach;
  • Ease of application or operation, maintenance simplicity and durability;
  • Water efficiency;
  • Energy Efficiency;
  • Practicality in improving smallholder capabilities;
  • Ability to replicate in a wide range of areas.
The Floppy Sprinkler irrigation system which has numerous advantages, challenges conventional irrigation systems that have been in use for the past 50 years. The Floppy Sprinkler is a unique sprinkler based on cutting edge technology. Because it is made from plastic and silicone, the sprinkler is feather light and easy to handle. It consists of a plastic nipple on which a flexible silicone tube is mounted. The tube cuts the stream of water into uniform, medium sized droplets with no mist formation, resulting in a 30% water saving. For this reason the Floppy Sprinkler is one of the most beneficial irrigation systems. The South African region currently experiences drought conditions and effective utilization of water resources has become paramount. Since efficient application of water predominantly determines the successes achieved in yield, an efficient irrigation system is a prerequisite to yield increases.

Another advantage of the Floppy Sprinkler system is that it requires little or no maintenance because it has been designed to have no reactionary forces and no moving parts thus no wear and tear. The Floppy Sprinkler was the first sprinkler equipped with a flow controller which ensures a constant flow of water regardless of any fluctuation in pressure, even steep slopes can be irrigated accurately. Fertilizers and pesticides can also be effectively applied through the system. Among these benefits Floppy Sprinkler also has a system that is applicable to different crops and field-layouts, easy to manage and less expensive than other comparable solid set systems. An important consideration for the smallholder is to lower input cost. This is made possible by the Floppy Sprinkler because of the low energy requirements, higher water efficiency, effective fertigation application and low maintenance. The lower operating pressures ensure energy savings of up to 35% while the high efficiency of the system results in an increase in yield.

Emma Sambo, a small emerging farmer from the Malelane area, achieved 150 tons of cane at 15% sucrose levels which is exceptional. Emma was awarded Best Female Farmer in 2000 by the MEC. These yields are achievable due to more frequent and accurate irrigation and scheduling, made possible with the Floppy System.

Nomsa Nhlebeya followed in her footsteps and was awarded Best Female Farmer in 2001.

Floppy Sprinkler has helped these farmers achieve optimum yields and average increases in yield of between 15% and 20% - but up to 40% - have been achieved on sugar cane.

Floppy Sprinkler is situated in Nelspruit and can be contacted at: (013) 752 4252.

Other awards to Floppy Sprinkler include:
  • In 1989 The Plastic Federation of South Africa awarded a prize for innovative design;
  • In 1990 The South African Institute of Civil Engineers presented their annual Water Engineering award to Floppy Sprinkler;
  • In 1991 the Cullinan Award was presented to Floppy Sprinkler for Excellence in Industrial Product Design;
  • In 2000 Australia Award: Honorary acknowledgement as best new product at the Irrigation show;
  • In 2001 announced winner of the Eskom ETA Award for energy efficiency.