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Amitabha Sadangi

Amitabha Sadangi was born in a village in the state of Orissa, India. He holds a law degree and a post-graduate degree in Labour and Social Welfare. While working for Oxfam, Amitabha focused many of his ideas around market-based programmes for poverty alleviation. He is the co-Founder of a for-profit company, Global Easy Water Products, which allows private investment in the spread and replication of its irrigation technologies. He and IDEI have received several awards, including the Tech Museum BD Biosciences Economic Development Award (2010), the Zayed Future Energy Prize (2010), and the Ashden Outstanding Achievement Award (2009).

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International Development Enterprises
Water; Sustainable Development
Areas of Impact
North America

International Development Enterprises

Recognizing the high correlation between rural poverty and lack of access to water, International Development Enterprises (IDEI) designs, develops and delivers small plot irrigation technologies that are commercially viable, environmentally friendly, scaled down to fit one-tenth of a hectare plot, and cost 20% of competitive models. The technologies are sold through village supply chains to smallholder farmers at an unsubsidized market price. 

IDEI also provides technical, financial, consulting and business development services to its customers, enabling them to enter high-value commercial agriculture. As a result, smallholder farmers have been able to earn an additional average net income of $400 annually, emerging from poverty. IDEI low-cost irrigation technologies, such as the treadle pump and drip irrigation, have reached over 1 million smallholder farmer families. A foot-operated treadle pump can irrigate small plots of land in regions with water tables higher than 8 metres; 58% of treadle pumps have been sold to farmers who had previously not been able to afford any irrigation technology and 42% have replaced diesel pumps, which require farmers to pay annual rentals of more than $70. The drip irrigation system is effective for farm families living in arid, water scarce regions. The technology saves 50-70% in water usage and increases crop yields by 30-40%. 

Seventy local manufacturers produce irrigation products sold under the KB brand by a network of nearly 5,100 retailers and village mechanics in 226 Indian districts. Customer satisfaction is tracked through a management information system and feedback is incorporated to further refine the products. The treadle pump, for example, has been customized and is available in several variations to meet regional farming requirements. IDEI also builds the supply chains and credit mechanisms necessary for farmers to succeed. An independent assessment conducted by IDEI in 2006 revealed a notable shift in India from subsistence to profitable small-scale commercial farming. Farmers now cultivate throughout the year, which contributes to increased food security and a decline in migration; 20% reported investing income in their children’s education and 15% have increased spending on family health. IDEI is now exporting its technologies to countries in Africa and Southeast Asia.


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