Boosting Crop Intensification in southern Bangladesh: how surface water irrigation can put into scale?
Southern Bangladesh accounts for 27% of the area and 21% of the total
population (32 million).
About 15% of total cultivable land is either fallow and/or un-cultivated.
Minor irrigation is mainly dependent on extraction of groundwater.
Surface irrigation facilities are limited due to lack of water infrastructure and
the relative non-availability of appropriate water lifting devices.
For this reason, an estimated 50% of southern Bangladesh’s farmers currently
grow only one rain-fed rice crop per year
Service providers rent Low Lift Pumps (Centrifugal
pumps) from local irrigation management
Pump availability is limited due to
Lack of wide spread pump and crop output
Accessibility and affordability issues (mainly cost)
Lack of adequate extension services focused on
improved water and agronomic management
Lack of access to credit facilities
Surface Water Irrigation – Current Practice and Issues
CSISA-MI working on a strategy to encourage crop intensification
through the establishment of public-private partnerships for the
The CSISA-MI Project
(Cereal Systems Initiative for South-Asia – Mechanization and Irrigation)
Appropriate water lifting devices
Scale-appropriate agricultural machinery
Improved on-farm management and agronomic practices
Learning from the experience of other Asian countries (Thailand, Vietnam and
Combodia) – introduce Axial Flow Pumps (AFPs)
Long-term aim is to develop them locally to reduce costs
and increase accessibility for small farmers.
Appropriate for deltaic environment
such as Southern BD
Better performance at low heads
Methodology & Approach
We tested the technical efficiency and social acceptability of axial
flow pumps before introducing them to farming communities
A. Hydro-economic performance assessment of axial flow
pumps (AFPs) and centrifugal pumps (CENs)
Tests conducted from BARI, Gazipur.
Hydro analysis included comparison of fuel consumption
(l/h), and pump discharge (l/s) at different heads.
Economic analysis included both fixed and variable costs
(e.g., costs of full pump set, engine, V-belts etc.).
Testing technical efficiency of axial flow pumps at BARI
B. Field-scale performance assessment of AFPs and CENs
Field demonstrations were conducted in collaboration with international
Development Enterprises (iDE) and Rangpur Foundary Limited (RFL).
Mobile demonstrations and several focus group discussions (FGDs) were
conducted to select interested local service providers (LSPs) and potential
CIMMYT and iDE led technical aspects of the pumps, whereas RFL looked
after marketing, accessibility and operational issues such as pricing, after
sale services, spare parts, etc.
Locations for pump demonstrations were identified after discussions with
RFL dealers, WUAs, and farmer groups in different Upazilas.
In total, 70 LSPs were selected for these field demonstrations.
FGD Conducted for field scale
performance of the AFP’s
Awareness Building Through
Field days for Training on AFP at
Barisal, Bhola & Patuakhali District
AFPs produced higher water discharge than CENs. At 1-m head, AFPs
discharge was 72% higher than CENs whereas at 2-m and 3-m heads,
discharge of AFPs was 55% and 28% higher than CENs, respectively.
The water delivery per unit of fuel for AFPs at 1-m head is 112.4 m3/l, which
declined to 91 m3/l and 69 m3/l at 2-m and 3-m head, respectively.
AFP would save about 70 US$/season at 1-m head to 38 US$/season at 3-m
head for irrigating boro rice.
A. Hydro-economic performance assessment
B. Field-scale performance assessment
LSPs generally found the performance of AFPs better than centrifugal
pumps in terms of discharge, fuel consumption and operational cost.
The average operational cost of AFPs (labour, maintenance and fuel
costs) was lower than centrifugal pumps.
LSPs confirmed that AFPs can save up to 200 BDT (US$ 2.6) daily for boro
rice, which is significant saving over a season.
Due to water higher discharge, AFPs took less time to irrigate per unit of
land. This way AFPs can provide irrigation service to more farmers than
with centrifugal pumps within a specified time.
This makes AFPS commercially more acceptable for LSPs.
Level of satisfaction of LSPs with the axial flow pumps
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Water lifting capacity
Ease of operation
Availability of spare parts
Availability of after sales service
Availability of technical services
Quality of technical services
Seasonal demand for water
Service charge recovery
Client farmers’ satisfaction
Labor Cost involvement
No need priming
Satisfactory Moderately Satisfactory Not Satisfactory
CSISA-MI is working with RFL company to encourage local production of
AFPs to solve technical problems and reduce cost.
Business Model: RFL JUMBO Pump
RFL deploys sales team to drive
sales through dealer events,
demonstration program, other
RFL provides orientation for
dealers in product and
business knowledge; dealer
Marketing push through
billboards, branding of
product and outlets, other
Technical support for RFL
in product knowledge and
targeting; and model
RFL provides installation
After Sales Services (AFSS)
Increased accessibility to agricultural
Improved on-farm water management and
Extended surface irrigation facilities through
improvements in infrastructure
Boosting Crop Intensification in Southwest of BD
Increasing accessibility to water lifting devices such as AFPs would
enable farmers to grow a higher-yielding and more profitable rabi
134 LSPs have already replaced CENs with AFPs. However crop
intensification in this region would also require
Suggestions for Boosting Crop Intensification
• Solve technical problems of AFPs - redefine and modify pump design to
assure that the technically best and economically affordable pump will be
available within Bangladesh in the near-term future.
• Increase affordability of small farmers – reduce cost by encouraging local
• Increase access to canal water - irrigation and drainage infrastructure
needs to be redesigned, repaired, or even newly constructed. De-silt
targeted canals and construct water control structures and pump houses.
• Increase farmer participation in water management – establish water
user associations (groups) to collect water charges and use them to
maintain irrigation and drainage infrastructure at the tertiary level.
Suggestions for Boosting Crop Intensification
• Rationalize cropping patterns – encourage farmers to switch to less water
demanding crops (such as oilseeds, wheat, millet, sorghum and maize, in
addition to more profitable horticultural operations), considering the
availability of water.
• Increase land productivity – increase availability of appropriate inputs
(seed, fertilizer, weed control, etc.). Also make storage facilities to reduce
post harvest losses.
• Increase involvement of private sector – increase role of private sector in
providing much needed irrigation and machinery services and processing
and marketing for farmers’ produce..
Demos managed by Barisal Bhola Patuakhali
CIMMYT 13 7 7
iDE 15 14 14
Total 28 21 21
Distribution of AFP
District Intervention Male Female Total
Bhola LSP + Mechanics + Skill development on AFP 100 0 100
Barisal LSP + Mechanics + Skill development on AFP 261 6 267
Patuakhali LSP + Skill Development on AFP 42 1 43
Details of trainings on AFP under Barisal region
Field Demonstrations and Trainings
• In coastal areas, effective water resources management is a pre-condition
for agricultural production, as deltas must be protected against river
floods and/or tidal and storm surges.
• Increased access to surface water irrigation will encourage double
cropping on currently fallow or poorly productive 100,000 ha of land.
• AFPs have hydro-economic superiority over CENs. However, their technical
and operational problems need to be resolved and costs reduced to make
them affordable to service providers at scale.
• CSISA-MI works to developing LSP business models and expect that the
locally developed AFPs will be more susceptible to local conditions. Once
available at scale, they will contribute towards improving food and income
security in this otherwise overlooked region.