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Engineered irrigation surfaces and water lifting

Optimize rice farming with precision-engineered surfaces and efficient water lifting for increased yields and resource conservation.

These technologies involve shaping rice paddy soil surfaces into straight, horizontal planes to enable uniform water distribution. Laser-guided leveling is a prominent method, significantly enhancing soil moisture control and water use efficiency. In regions like Cambodia and India, this practice has led to improved germination rates, reduced labor requirements, decreased weed infestations, and increased rice yields.


This technology is TAAT1 validated.


Scaling readiness: idea maturity 8/9; level of use 8/9

Cost: $$$ 4 700—5 500 USD

Add-on equipment

30—80 USD

Hand-operated pumps

1 000 USD

Solar-powered pump

800 USD

High-pressure pumps




  • Uneven Ground Hinders Growth: Uneven soil stops water and nutrients from reaching all parts of the rice plants, leading to uneven growth.
  • Losses from Uneven Ground: For every small change in ground level, there's a big drop in the amount of rice we can harvest.
  • Need for Smoother Fields: Making the land flatter and adding furrows saves water, helps young rice plants survive, and makes it easier to take care of the fields.
  • Hard Work to Flatten Land: Making the land even takes a lot of hard work from farmers.
  • Expensive Watering Methods: The way we get water to the fields can cost a lot.
  • Tricky Watering Can Stress the Crop: Sometimes, the way we water the rice can cause stress to the plants.


  • Uniform Water Distribution: Engineered soil surfaces ensure uniform water distribution, enhancing crop growth.
  • Maximized Harvest: Leveling the soil surface through engineering reduces losses and maximizes harvest.
  • Optimized Water Use: Engineered surfaces and furrows optimize water use, improve seedling survival, and make field management easier.
  • Simplified Leveling Process: Precision-engineered equipment simplifies the process of leveling soil surfaces.
  • Cost-Efficient Irrigation: Efficient water lifting systems optimize irrigation, conserving resources and reducing costs.
  • Stress-Free Watering: Properly designed water delivery systems alleviate stress on the crops during watering.

Key points to design your business plan

The Engineered irrigation surfaces and water lifting technology may be of interest to fleet managers, and users (farmers).

Fleet managers

As a fleet manager, it's beneficial to encourage the adoption of engineered irrigation surfaces and water lifting technologies to reduce rice yield losses in agriculture. To effectively enter this market, 

  • Identify reliable sources for the equipment, considering availability in Kenya, Nigeria, and other regions. 
  • Explore efficient transportation methods and suitable storage facilities for the technology. 
  • As known that the technology costs vary based on size, with small-scale systems starting at 4,700 to 5,500 USD, and water lifting equipment ranging from 30 to 1,000 USD, consider also transportation expenses, import duties, and taxes in your budget. 

Your potential customer base includes farmers, development projects, and farmers' cooperatives or associations.

Users (Farmers)

Engineered irrigation surfaces and water lifting technologies minimize water use inefficiencies and increase rice yield. 

  • Choose the right equipment size, keeping in mind variable investment costs; small-scale soil leveling systems start at 4,700 to 5,500 USD, and water lifting tools range from 30 to 1,000 USD. 
  • Consider delivery costs, import duties, and taxes for locations like Kenya and Nigeria. 
  • Identify context-specific land leveling and water lifting methods. 

Your main partner is sellers or fleet managers.

Associate this technology with Motorized weeders for a holistic solution.


Positive or neutral impact

Adults 18 and over
Positive medium
The poor
No impact
Under 18
Positive low
Positive low

Positive or neutral impact

Climate adaptability
It adapts really well
Adaptability for farmers
It helps a lot
It helps them grow and thrive
Carbon footprint
It reduces emissions a little
It makes a little difference
Soil quality
It makes the soil healthier and more fertile
Water usage
It uses a lot less water

Countries with a green colour
Tested & adopted
Countries with a bright green colour
Countries with a yellow colour
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burundi Burkina Faso Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Côte d’Ivoire Eritrea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Cameroon Kenya Libya Liberia Madagascar Mali Malawi Morocco Mauritania Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Republic of the Congo Rwanda Zambia Senegal Sierra Leone Zimbabwe Somalia South Sudan Sudan South Africa Eswatini Tanzania Togo Tunisia Chad Uganda Western Sahara Central African Republic Lesotho
Countries where the technology has been tested and adopted
Country Tested Adopted
Kenya Tested Adopted
Nigeria Tested Adopted

This technology can be used in the colored agro-ecological zones. Any zones shown in white are not suitable for this technology.

Agro-ecological zones where this technology can be used
AEZ Subtropic - warm Subtropic - cool Tropic - warm Tropic - cool

Source: HarvestChoice/IFPRI 2009

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are applicable to this technology.

Sustainable Development Goal 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger
Sustainable Development Goal 1: no poverty
Goal 1: no poverty
Sustainable Development Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Goal 8: decent work and economic growth

  1. Prepare the Field: Ensure the rice paddy is sufficiently wet.

  2. Calibrate Instruments: Set up and calibrate topographic survey instruments.

  3. Measure the Land: Take precise measurements to design appropriate soil surfaces.

  4. Level the Field: Utilize tractor-mounted tools guided by laser technology to level the field.

  5. Verify Surface Dimensions: Conduct another land survey to ensure the dimensions of soil surfaces are correct.

Last updated on 22 May 2024