Cargill has invested in 360 x Hippo Water Rollers at a total investment of $45,000 to support local small-scale cotton farmers in Zambia. The rollers were transported by road from South Africa during December 2011 to Cargill's Zambia operation.
To optimize and save on transport costs from South Africa, the Hippo drums were each filled with 45kg of other products. Twelve Hippo drums including the steel handles were stacked onto a single pallet totalling 650kg, then loaded onto trucks and transported together by road to Cargill in Zambia. The Hippo drums were effectively used as packaging material during the transport phase, and then once emptied, used for their original purpose of assisting farmers to water their trees more efficiently.
Cargill supports initiatives to improve agricultural working practices and to help farmers increase their incomes and deliver benefits to local communities. One such initiative is the company's safe drinking water programme which has built numerous wells in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi – each well serving communities of up to 200 people.
While Cargill has plans to drill more wells to provide safe, clean water supply, it also recognized that small scale cotton farmers still carry water in buckets from the water source to their cotton trees. By the time they have watered just 1 hectare of trees, these farmers have walked 40km carrying heavy buckets of water which is very strenuous and time consuming.
Cargill has identified the Hippo Water Roller as an appropriate technology that will help farmers to be far more efficient by using the Hippo rollers to carry five times the amount of water with ease from their wells to their trees, and at the same time improve access to water for their families.