New Era recently spoke to Ismael Tjimuhiva, sole owner of Prime Water and Irrigation Systems cc, who is determined to make a difference in people’s lives through provision of readily available and affordable water.
New Era (NE): Can you tell us about your business?
Ismael Tjimuhiva (IT): It is an upcoming business that is only one month old and aims to introduce a low-pressure drip irrigation system to the market. This project uses solar power to pump water from the ground to a tank.
NE: What does this low-pressure drip irrigation system entail?
IT: It will mainly provide water for irrigation to individuals that intend to do crop farming, especially on a small scale.
NE: Why did you decide to offer such an irrigation system, among others?
IT: I come from an area where we struggle to get access to water after the rainy season. That is why I decided to come up with this idea to address it. Though it’s a new project in Africa, it proves to work in Kenya.
NE: What are the benefits attached to your project
IT: With the looming drought in the country, this project will support a lot of individuals to have water throughout the year, together with farmers to provide water for their animals. It is a low-cost project and affordable, easy to maintain, as equipment is locally available and accessible. We still offer complete service delivery
NE: What is your target area?
IT: I will mainly concentrate on rural areas in the northern part of the country, covering the north-east and north-west.
NE: Why only target northern areas?
IT: Because those regions are more actively involved in growing crops and furthermore solely depend on the yearly rainfall. With this system they can now grow their crops throughout the year.
NE: As a very young and upcoming company what are the challenges facing you out there?
IT: Capital is the biggest challenge as I need to acquire machinery like drilling machines which are expensive. My only hope now is with the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Small Medium Enterprises Development. But I will still continue to pull myself together by using the little finance I have to run the business.
NE: As an upcoming tenderer what is your view regarding the current system of awarding of tenders?
IT: Unfair awarding of tenders to friends or relatives is a major concern as this jeopardizes the chances of small, upcoming tenderers. Tender boards/committees furthermore require references from upcoming tenderers for previous successfully completed projects as well as experience. This is really a challenge as to how one can acquire it if they are failing to offer you an opportunity to conform to these requirements.
NE: What do you think should be done about this?
IT: Tender boards/committees should be more transparent by publicly announcing tenders and the awards instead of awarding tenders secretly and you only later hear of it. I support the system whereby they now publish tender readings and awards in newspapers, which is way better as it shows some transparency.
NE: What do you think separates you from other small tenderers?
IT: I never give up easily – the more I fail, the more I continue pushing. I persist because I don’t believe in what others think but I follow what matters to me and obviously benefits the community. I am furthermore very determined in reaching my goals.
NE: What do you think is your weakness?
IT: I am impatient at times, but manage to pull myself together if need be.
NE: Anything else you want to share with the public?
IT: I intend to assist needy people who are suffering in living without clean water, as you may find in some parts of the country some people sharing the same water with animals, which is not a good thing as it poses health hazards. I also want to enable people to start up some small business to sustain themselves instead of seasonal businesses.