Simple ways to transport and purify water and maintain proper soil health

Water is life, but so is soil. Niche Farmers recently visited a few institutions who showed us simple ways to transport and purify water and maintain proper soil health. Our first stop was Hippo Roller, a local organisation that is enhancing access to water for rural communities across the world.

Hippo Roller was founded by two “ordinary” men who grew up on farms in South Africa and had first-hand experience of our national water crisis. The design of their groundbreaking concept was inspired by women carrying water in heavy buckets on their heads for kilometres every day.

Based on statistics released by the United Nations (UN), this so happens to be the plight of billions of women, children and elderly persons in rural communities, who have to collect water from some remote point, such as a river or a dam, and bring it back home to fulfil basic human needs, such as personal and domestic hygiene, and irrigate their vegetable gardens.

A simple yet super effective concept, the Hippo Roller is basically just a 90-litre water container that has rolling wheels and a handle. It can either be pushed or pulled, which makes it much easier to transport water. It not only reduces back and neck strain but also saves a lot of time, especially for children who, sadly, often get to school late because of their water-carrying duties. Visit www.hipporoller.org to read all about it or to order or donate Hippo Rollers.

Niche Farmers also chatted to Victor Adendorff and George Erasmus from Scientific Sanitation Solutions who innovated point-of-use water purification solutions to combat water contamination and pollution. By water purification, we mean eliminating harmful pollutants, pathogens and inorganic materials to ensure that the water is safe for human and animal consumption as well as for use on plants and farms.

The importance of this cannot be underestimated. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), contaminated drinking water currently causes around 6 million deaths every year, which is more than the impact of AIDS and malaria combined.

Scientific Sanitation Solutions has a novel point-of-use purification solution named Sani-Amanzi, which seeks to solve this very global issue. Sani-Amanzi is a scientifically formulated powder that is dissolved in a container of water, and voila, 30 minutes or so later, the water is clean, pure and safe for consumption. Click here to see how it works.

We also met with Agri Technovation, a group of specialists in a range of different disciplines pertaining to farming with one common denominator: the belief that innovation through technology is the formula for the future. In line with this philosophy, they use advanced technology to engineer smart farming solutions, which includes the analysis and enrichment of soil.

After all, healthy soil equates to healthy crops, and healthy crops equate to a healthy, thriving farm. One such service is MYSOIL CLASSIFICATION, through which they classify your type of soil, identify which crop is most suited to it, and make recommendations on how you can enrich and manage the soil to minimise any potential risks, while getting the most out of your crops.

Then there is their ITEST SOIL function, which helps you tackle your soil issues proactively by testing your soil before the start of a season, so you can start correcting the nutrient levels of the soil well in advance of planting. This is done through a combination of fieldwork and technology. A field technician will, for example, come to collect top- and subsoil samples from a predetermined grid on your farm – located through GPS – after which the samples are sent to their laboratory for extensive chemical analysis and recommendations.

To get the “groundwork” done properly and give yourself the best chance of a successful season, visit www.agritechnovation.co.za to find out how they can support you in this goal. Follow @Nichefarmers on Facebook to connect with other farmers and share some of your own latest and greatest farming hacks and ideas.