The world’s food production industry is growing each day in response to growing food demands. This has led to excessive use of our world’s natural resources such as ground water.

The Zambian-German Agricultural Knowledge and Training Centre (AKTC) supports natural resources conservation in Zambia and Africa at large. AKTC in collaboration with KSB Zambia and BayWa Variable Rain organised a commercial farmers’ training in stateof-the-art irrigation management and pumps. The training which was held on 18th February 2021 in the conference hall at the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART) in Chisamba, Central Province of Zambia, aimed at showcasing modern irrigation management tools and equipment.

In attendance were 15 participants comprising of commercial farmers and representatives from the industry. E.g. Amiran, Aqua Aura (T-L Pivots), BAYER, , CRC Farming, GART Farming section, Select Seed from Mkushi  and Netafim. Out of the stated number of attendees, 4 commercial farmers came from within Chisamba and one from the Copperbelt Province.

To begin the training, Mr. Helmut Anschuetz AKTC-Team Leader welcomed the participants and gave a presentation on VariableRain. VariablRain is an IT based irrigation tool that is used to conserve water and optimize crop production through precision irrigation recommendations. The tool uses satellite information, weather data and agronomical data to model plant growth. With precise evaluation of this data, the software integrates the information to offer reliable irrigation recommendations. This makes the use of water more efficient as the quantity of water used for irrigation is optimized to achieve the best production results. The VariableRain irrigation recommendations are available for the following crops, wheat, soya, maize, canola, sugar cane, sugar beet and potatoes.


Mr. Leslie De Jager, AKTC-crop production expert concluded the variable rain presentation by sharing his practical experiences of using variable rain. With variable rain irrigation recommendations, AKTC saved nearly 11 million litres of water during the 2019-2020 farming season on a 10ha pivot alone. Of course, on a higher hectarage much more water could be saved by using the Variable Rain tool. The most obvious and undeniable gain resulting from the water saving ability of this tool is the energy conserved as less water is used. Efficiency in both, water and energy usage are critical in climate change impact mitigation and maximizing profits. Simply put, with Variable Rain, your pumps run for a shorter time, hence optimizing the water usage and reducing wear and tear as well as the electricity bills. This technique has the ability to increase profit margins of many farmers if well adopted.





KSB Zambia, Lusaka Branch Manager Mr. Fanus Terblans complemented the variable rain presentation by giving a presentation on irrigation pumps and management. KSB is a German company and like BayWa one of AKTC’s private sector partners. Specialized in both industrial and irrigation pumps.

In his presentation, Mr. Terblans highlighted the various KSB pumps available on the market, pointing out the different pump mechanisms and operations. He further gave a guide on factors related to pump selection, pipe sizing and step by step vertical and horizontal pump installation processes. This information is needed by KSB in order to advise on the correct pump size.

With representatives from water and irrigation companies such as Amiran, Aqua Aura and Natafim in attendance, the topic was intensively discussed making it easily relatable to farmers.

During the presentation, one of the farmers raised a question in relation to the durability of KSB pumps. In response to this concern, the presenter talked about KSB pumps installed with Variable Speed Drives (VSD’s). Using remote monitoring function.

VSD’s saves energy  and reduces maintenance as it eliminates the need to constantly stop and start the pump.

Fig 5: KSB Products on display.


To end the discussion, AKTC conducted a commercial farmers’ training needs assessment to ascertain the training needs of large-scale farmers’ and their staff. When asked what kind of trainings were needed for their farm managers and their skilled farm workers, pump selection (with variable Speed Drive-VSD) as well as preventive pump maintenance were pointed out. With such findings, AKTC can plan for the next training in preventive pump maintenance.



Helmut Anschuetz: 

Fanus Terblans: