Fuel-less pumps for irrigation of lands from smallholder farmers 

Farming in Malawi is challenging. Over 80% of the population has its own farm and depends on it for its food and income. The rainy season is most important as farmers then grow their staple food: maize. Farming during the dry season is only a possibility for those whose land is situated along a river, lake or irrigation canal. Most farmers, however, do not practice dry season irrigation due to the high financial risks involved in pumping when using diesel pumps. For those farmers aQysta has developed the Barsha Pump: a water pump that simply operates on flowing water. 

The Barsha Pump recreates households’ and societies’ dreams and aspirations as:

  • It enables farmers to access water and grow crops in seasons during which crop cultivation was not possible before;
  • It enables farmers to practice irrigation in areas where irrigation was not possible before;
  • It enables farmers to grow different, more nutritious and cash crops;
  • It provides a 30-150% higher and more secure income.
  • In other words ‘The Barsha Pump creates new horizons, allowing families to dream new dreams’.

Since we have opened a local branch in Malawi - in September 2018 - we have sold 50 Barsha Pumps to medium to rich farmers who pay for the pump in instalments. We do however also want to connect with the real smallholder farmer. In order to do so we need to offer financial products that match their wallet and cash flow cycle. Two of these financial products are the Pay-As-You-Use and Pay-As-You-Harvest payment mechanisms. Both mechanisms have been conceptualized and the pay-per-harvest mechanism has also been tested at small scale. In the proposed project we want to assess the bankability of both payment systems, so being able to calculate risks and costs involved and how to include these in the pricing of both payment mechanisms. The project will engage 675 smallholder farmers who will together irrigate a total of 135 hectares of land by using 90 Barsha Pumps. We expect that farmer income will increase between 30-150%.



  • 90 Barsha pumps implemented, irrigating 135 hectares
  • 675 smallholder farmers benefiting from access to irrigation
  • Increase in income of smallholder farmers by at least 150%