Media Release - Lowvelder 01
NELSPRUIT – You have plentiful land, you have crops to plant and you have billions of dollars to spend – however, the land is in the middle of the Sahara Desert with no irrigation and temperatures reaching 56 degrees Celsius.
These were the challenges Abu-Dhabi based Jenaan Investments was facing after it had signed an agreement with the Egyptian authorities to lease land for crop cultivation – in an area that receives less than 20 millimetres of rain a year. A Lowveld-based company provided the solution – “Rain on Demand”.
Floppy Sprinkler Managing Director, Mr Johann Hiemstra, has been doing business in the Middle East for seven years. When Jenaan Investments needed an irrigation infrastructure for its massive new agricultural project in south-western Egypt, Hiemstra had the answer - the Floppy Sprinkler system which was developed in South Africa and patented worldwide. “A multi-million dollar licensing agreement to transfer technology and supply Floppy irrigation systems was recently signed between Jenaan and Floppy Sprinkler. The ten-year contact will see Floppy Sprinkler act as supplier and consultant to the projects and Jenaan install the irrigation systems,” said Hiemstra.
The Jenaan project is in East Oweinat, 1,500 kilometres from Cairo. According to Hiemstra, the initial phase of 10,000 hectares has recently commenced. This initial installation of the Floppy Sprinkler system will entail 167,000 poles, 10,000 kilometres of cable, 15,000 kilometres of pipe and one million sprinklers. The system will be fed by 286 bore holes fed by an aquifer. After ten years approximately 100,000 hectares will be under irrigation. The project will produce mainly wheat, but also corn, beans and lucerne. Crops will be for Egyptian consumption only.
Other projects still in the planning stages provide the potential for Floppy Sprinkler to substantially increase its market share. Floppy Sprinkler has won 10 international prizes and operates in 19 countries.
The Floppy Sprinkler concept has been validated by 10 international prizes it has won and installations are now running in 19 countries around the world. The advantages of the Floppy Sprinkler system include:
• Cooling is made possible to reduce temperatures to 30 degrees Celsius or below, to induce growth.
• Fertigation is extremely accurate and precise to the last drop due to the flow controller.
• Foliar feeding can be done accurately, eliminating the use of aircraft and the high cost of spraying.
• Insecticides can be applied accurately and effectively over a total area in minutes.
• If necessary crops like lucerne can be wet to ideal moisture content to prevent leaf and weight loss.
With the increasing oil prices and dwindling oil supply, Middle Eastern countries have realised their vulnerability to food boycotts and their dependence on importing food. A strategic decision was recently made by Middle Eastern governments to become self sufficient in food supplies within ten years. Many companies, of which Jenaan is one, have been tasked with this mission and billions of dollars are being spent.
A Middle East that does not have to rely on the West or Far East for its food supplies will have a more powerful position in global economies. Evenly important, new technologies that not only save water and energy but also promote biological and sustainable farming will be high in demand and Floppy Sprinkler provides this solution.
Mr Johann Hiemstra, Managing Director, Floppy Sprinkler and Mr Mohamed Otaiba, Chairman of Jenaan Investments signing the contracts.
The Floppy Sprinkler irrigated Jenaan project will look similar to this when in full operation.
Published: The Lowvelder, Nelspruit, 04/09/2009