Floppy making headway in Swaziland!
During 1992, a bi-national treaty on Development and Utilization of Water Resources of the Komati River Basin was signed between the Kingdom of Swaziland and the Republic of South Africa.
The aim of the project was to improve the management of water resources in the Komati River Basin. To do this the Governments of both countries embarked on a long-term plan of building a total of nine dams that will supply the area of water. The Driekoppies Dam in South Africa and the Maguga Dam in Swaziland was built during the first phase of the project.
The Maguga Dam, situated in the Middleveld region of Swaziland, 12km’s from the popular tourist attraction at Pig’s Peak was formally opened during April 2002. The building of the Dam resulted in the relocation of 124 homesteads. Resettlers were relocated to areas of their choice but the majority resettled in the Host area, i.e. a portion of the Nyonyane Sisa Ranch.
The Agricultural Development Plan forms the core of the Host area resettlement program and resettlers were compensated on a land for-land basis with irrigated land.
Farmers were compensated with minimum land holdings of 2.5 ha, on which they have to cultivate a crop of high value while 0.5 ha could be used to plant other food crops.
Sugar cane was selected as a crop of high value because it has reasonable export capabilities, has a high gross margin and is not critically dependent on good management. The fact that the Mhlume Sugar Mill is situated 50km’s from the Host area and capable of processing the cane was another determinating factor.
The Floppy Sprinkler irrigation system, which is ideal for irrigating sugar cane, was installed over an area of 194ha.
Electricity is an extremely expensive commodity in Swaziland because 90% of its electrical power is imported from South Africa. The building of the Maguga Dam enables hydro-electric power to be supplied during peak hours for irrigation purposes.
The Floppy Sprinkler system has numerous benefits that make it ideal for installation in the Swaziland region where consumers used to depend mostly on the unregulated flow of the Komatipoort River for irrigation purposes.
Energy savings of up to 29 % are easily achieved with the Floppy Sprinkler system while water savings of more than 40 % have been reported.
The installation at the Host area is however not Floppy’s first installation in Swaziland - the Floppy system was first installed at Big Bend Sugar Estates in the mid 1990’s. The cane production manager of the Estates, Mr. John Piqout reported 18% savings on water with 17% increase in yield and 44% less water used per ton of product produced.
The Floppy Sprinkler irrigates the total root area - resulting in optimum root development and optimum yield.
Sugar cane under Floppy irrigation can easily grow over 5 metres.
A letter received from Mr. André Pretorius, Irrigation Engineer at TSB in the Lowveld - confirmed the sprinkler’s efficiencies. “Floppy systems have very good efficiencies and have done well in regard to yields and quality compared to other conventional irrigation systems.” Pretorius stated that: “I do recommend the Floppy System with confidence to you as an excellent irrigation system for sugar cane.”
Just as the Aswan Dam in Egypt significantly changed Egypt’s geographical and economical map, the Maguga Dam is a symbol of pride for the Swaziland people. It will significantly increase irrigation practices in Swaziland.
As for Floppy Sprinkler the Swazi saying “Asikhule” (”let us grow”) seems to ring true because the demand for the Floppy Sprinkler has increased to such an extent that Floppy Sprinkler (Pty) Ltd. is now in the process of establishing an office in Swaziland.
Lush and even growth obtainable through the very