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Replacing diesel pump use for irrigation by promoting Treadle Pumps and preparation of toolkit for capacity building



Smallholder farmers largely engage in monsoon dependent irrigation & so irrigate their lands only once a year & migrate in search of work for sustenance for the remaining time. Although expensive but farmers have one option of irrigating their lands throughout the year using the diesel pump. There are over seven million diesel pump used on farms in India, each being filled with fuel every day.  These diesel pumps not only have significant global climate change impact, they also contribute to local air pollution with adverse health implications.


Most farmers cannot purchase diesel generators because of high costs & so rent it from other rich farmers/ people running leasing model. However the solution still does not come cheap to the farmer at almost $2/ hour thereby reducing their net additional income.

There is a need to empower smallholder farmers through access to affordable, efficient & renewable energy based irrigation technologies that reduce dependence on diesel generators and facilitate an increase in agricultural productivity and related income that could be spent on agriculture, nutrition, education etc.

International Development Enterprises India (IDEI) proposes to promote water lifting device called Treadle Pump (TP). Under the programme IDEI will build the capacities of identified local entrepreneurs by developing a toolkit. The effectiveness of the toolkit will be verified by conducting a pilot of promoting 500 TP’s.


With the adoption of TP, farmers not only own an irrigation device but it also replaces the use of diesel pump. External study by TERI ( ) validates that each TP prevents emission of .477 tCO2 annually. Under the programme 87, 373 litres of diesel will be saved & 238 tCO2 eq.will be reduced.


 In addition each user household generates $ 500 net additional income as verified by IMRB ( ) in a recent external study.


While diesel pump is difficult to operate for a women farmer, TPs can easily be operated by women.

Category of the action

Reducing emissions from electric power sector.

What actions do you propose?

We propose the following:

1.     Develop a toolkit that would comprise of a step wise video guide along with a manual for reference.

2.     Build the capacities of local entrepreneurs for manufacturing, promoting/selling and installing TP’s using the toolkit.

3.     Test the effectiveness of toolkit & learning from it by promotion & installation of 500 TPs.

4.     Modify the toolkit based on experiential learning.


The toolkit to be developed for the project will include four main sections:


a.     Introduction and purpose: It will provide history of the Treadle Pump (TP), its benefits and brief about the technology.  Introduction to International Development Enterprises India (IDEI) that has been implementing the TP programme in India along with its achievments. The challenges to implementation of the programme and its existing presence will be mentioned. The benefits of using TPs and the benefits to the supply chain members will be highlighted.  The total potential of TP in India and numbers that IDEI proposes to reach.  After introducing the technology and IDEI in detail the section will describe the need & relevance of the toolkit along with details of the components included in the toolkit.    

b.     Chapter on Manufacturing: This section will describe in detail the manufacturing process starting from the tools required, financial & site requirements along with necessary utilities required. The level of training for staff to be involved in manufacturing, other managerial and legal requirements to be complied will be elaborated. The details of the type of raw materials to be used along with their quality standards will be provided. The Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for manufacturing the TP along with time required for each of the steps will be included in the section. Safety equipments and safety procedures will be mentioned to ensure accident free manufacturing. The in process and final product quality control check procedure will be included in the chapter along with details of the steps to be taken in case the quality is not as per the specifications. The chapter will also include case studies of existing manufacturers and experience sharing from them to encourage potential entrepreneurs for venturing into TP manufacturing. The details of the training that can be provided to the manufacturing plant staff will be provided.

c.     Chapter on Establishing Supply Chain and role of stakeholders involved in supply chain: This chapter will elaborate on the steps of supply chain after the TP has been manufactured. The role of Carry and Forward Agent, Distributor and Dealer will be explained in detail. The requirements including financial, legal and procedural that are to be met by each of the members in the supply chain will be explained in detail. The promotional activities that the supply chain members will be involved in will be explained. Case studies of existing supply chain members will be provided along with experience sharing to encourage new entrepreneurs to become supply chain members will be provided.

d.     Chapter on role of IDEI staff and promotional activities support:  The role of IDEI staff including the Business Associate, Area Manager, Branch Manager, Quality Manager or Officer will be explained in detail. Along with it the role of IDEI staff, explanation of the different promotional activities, their relevance, target audience and past effectiveness will be described in detail. Additional support provided to supply chain members by on-field staff will be elaborated. The chapter will also include explanations of different training programs and meetings organized by IDEI for the supply chain members and target customers will be provided.       

e.     Chapter on Installation and Service After Sales (SAS): The chapter will provide details of the role of Village Based Mechanics (VBMs). The training to be conducted for the VBMs along with the activities for their continued engagement will be elaborated. The TP installation process will be explained in detail with the role of the VBM. The important aspects related to maintenance and usage of treadle pump will be explained in the document. The importance of 1 year warranty and past experiences of providing Service After Sales (SAS) will be shared. Case study including experience sharing by the existing Village Based Mechanics (VBMs) will be included.

f.      Toolkit Video: There will be Compact Disk provided along with the toolkit that will include video recordings of the manufacturing steps, SOPs for the staff involved in manufacturing, raw material, in process and final product inspection procedures along with the step wise explanation of the supply chain through video recordings. The aim of the video is to enable the stakeholders who cannot read the toolkit understand the program. The video will include interview of the manufacturers, Distributors and Dealers where they will explain about their involvement in the TP program and benefits that they have achieved.  Video recordings of promotional activities, meetings and trainings organized as part of the program will be included. The installation process along with interview of existing users & similar local stakeholders who have been associated so far will be included to enhance understanding of the final outcome of the process followed.  

Capacity Building of local entrepreneurs for manufacturing, promoting and installing TP’s using the toolkit:

Once the toolkit is developed there is a need to identify potential entrepreneurs who would like to be involved in the program as manufactures, dealers & installers. To identify and encourage these stakeholders there is a need to visit the areas with high potential of TP utilization and promote the TP along with creating awareness regarding the entrepreneurial opportunities existing in the TP program. Once the local entrepreneurs express interest there is a need to organize capacity building programs for them where they are introduced to the toolkit and explained how best they can utilize it. Once the stakeholders start utilizing the toolkit and start manufacturing and supplying the TPs the IDEI staff can organize relevant promotional activities to facilitate sale of TPs. The stakeholders would be encouraged to be a part of the promotional activities and seek all possible guidance and support from IDEI staff to utilize the toolkit and capacity building programs effectively.        

 Capacity building of local players will help many more smallholder farmers overcome dependence on hiring diesel generators for irrigation & contribute positively by using manually operated TP’s.

Test the effectiveness of learning by promotion & installation of 500 TPs:

As a part of the program it would be useful to install 500 TPs in the area for promotional purposes. The level of interest in the TP could be assessed through the participation of local stakeholders in the promotional programs and through the queries received in response. The users of 500 TPs installed will be encouraged to provide feedback about the TP and will be requested to promote the technology in their areas. Overall it is expected that installation of 500 TPs will enable testing the effectiveness of learning amongst the various stakeholders regarding the success of the program.  Local entrepreneurs will be provided consultations and expert advice as and when requested or required specifically on the basis of the feedback received through the 500 TPs installed initially.


Modify the toolkit based on experiential learning: In case there is feedback received from the consumers regarding change in the technology or in the program to enhance its effectiveness there will be revisions introduced in the toolkit.


In case required funding is available the project would be replicated in other areas involving building capacity of local entrepreneurs and organizations for manufacturing, promotion and installation of TP along with installation of 500 TPs for promotion.


After the local entrepreneurs are trained in manufacturing and promoting TPs to ensure quality of TPs manufactured a quality control and assurance staff from IDEI will visit the manufacturing unit regularly and check the quality of the manufactured TPs. 

Who will take these actions?

International Development Enterprises India (IDEI) ( ) has a vision to provide long term solutions to poverty, malnutrition & deprivation. IDEI’s mission is to improve equitably the social, economic and environmental conditions of families in need, with special emphasis on the rural poor, by identifying, developing and marketing affordable, appropriate and environmentally sustainable solutions through market forces.


According to World Bank’s “India: Priorities for Agriculture and Rural Development", of the many factors, weak framework for sustainable water management and irrigation are key in the massive slowdown of the agricultural sector in India. This includes inequitable allocation of water across states and deteriorating irrigation infrastructure and reducing farm sizes with complete dependence on rainfall for irrigation. Smallholder farmers in India cultivate a plot less than a hectare in size & remain trapped in ongoing cycle of hunger and poverty. 


In contrast to the prevalent outlook, IDEI views these smallholder farmers not as marginal recipients of charity instead as customer entrepreneurs who have the potential and an aspiration to build their own future. We strengthen smallholder farmer’s access to affordable, efficient irrigation technologies thus facilitating an increase in their agricultural productivity & related income. Our “profit for progress” methodology, of nurturing private sector supply chains engaged in manufacture & distribution of technologies, ensures not only a profit for the manufacturers but also a fair price for the end user- smallholder farmer. 


IDEI will develop the toolkit utilizing the in-house expertise related to manufacturing, promoting and installing TPs.

Local level individual entrepreneurs will be provided with the toolkit and additional guidance to manufacture TPs. 500 TPs will be installed for promotion of this technology.

IDEI will have dedicated staff to conduct quality control and assurance activities. 

Where will these actions be taken?

The toolkit will be prepared by IDEI through its staff based in Lucknow & Bhubaneswar with inputs from staff implementing the programme in other states along with TP manufactures involved in its existing TP  program.



Local entrepreneurs and organizations will utilize the toolkit to implement the TP  programmes in rural areas in India and there is scope to use it across different countries (where the conditions are suitable for the programme to be replicated)


There will be additional technical support provided to the entrepreneurs and organizations by IDEI staff if requested. 


A quality control and assurance team will be appointed by IDEI to ensure that TP  being installed by the local entrepreneurs are of good quality.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

Each TP  replaces a diesel generator based irrigation pump that would have been used by the farmer. According to analysis conducted by TERI that has been verified by an independent verifier TUV-NORD, each TP leads to .477 tons of CO2 emission reduction per year compared to the business as usual levels of CO2 emissions from diesel pumps in India.

The quality of emission reductions for the 500 TPs that will be installed through this project will be 238.5 tons of CO2 per year..This reduction of emissions is due to 87, 373 litres of diesel savings. The monitoring plan implemented as part of the programme will also involve monitoring the usage of the TP and determination of the business as usual scenario.

What are other key benefits?

The programme would lead to improvement in the living condition of the small holder farmers as it helps save the money spent on purchase of diesel or renting of diesel pumps that is around US$ 345 at the rate of US$ 2 per hour. Independent studies including the IMRB study state that a net additional income of US$ 500 per annum is achieved through use of IDEI promoted technologies including TP.  The quality of crops grown using TP were found to be better because of uniform, adequate and appropriate irrigation.

TP  usage also contributes to reduction of harmful emissions including CO2, CO, NO 2, soot or smoke, hydrocarbon etc.

The manufacturing, promotion and implementation of the TP  programme leads to creation of employment opportunities in the rural areas. This includes 300 person days in manufacturing, 75 in retailing & 250 person days in installation. In addition an employment of 1, 000 person days would be generated On Farm. A total of 1, 625 person days locally.

What are the proposal’s costs?

The cost of preparing the toolkit and installing 500 TPs for  promotional purpose in a selected area is USD 10,000. This will entail activities including preparation of toolkit utilizing expertise available within the organization and with inputs from the stakeholders in existing supply chain; organizing visits to local entrepreneurs for their selection, capacity building and handholding; implementation of a quality control and assurance mechanism; organizing promotional activities; selling and installing of 500 TPs,  providing service after sales.

IDEI is targeting to expand its current reach from 2 percent villages in India to 10 percent and from current 7 to 20 million by 2020. IDEI is seeking partners to help fund this expansion.

Time line

Time line


0-4 months

Preparation of toolkit

4-7 months

Identification and training of entrepreneurs

7-12 months

Installation of 500 TPs along with promotional activities, quality control and SAS

Related proposals

In addition to installation of TP  the farmers can also be provided training on sustainable agriculture that would lead to limited usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These activities will also contribute to emission reduction and adaptation of small holder farmers to adverse impacts of climate change.

Promotion of border plantation and agro forestry along with the TP  programme will also lead to emission reduction and resilience of small holder farmers. 

The print and electronic media both within India and in other developing countries with significant potential for TPs utilization can be engaged once the toolkit is ready for creating awareness about its benefits.

However for these additional activities it is advised to engage a separate team with related expertise and implement these projects with both mitigation and adaptation benefits.


Socio-economic-techno-environmental assessment of IDEI Products Treadle Pumps by The Energy and Resources Institute, Project Report No 2006RR24, available at: