News and knowhow for farmers

Wick irrigation system saves water and time for farmers

wick irrigation system by Musa Juma

Farmers in dry areas can save the amount of water needed for their crops and time needed to manage the watering of their farms by employing wick irrigation system that cuts water usage and is automatic hence farmers do not need to open and close it at any given time.

The irrigation system which is championed by Ruben Centre, a non-profit and faith-based organization based in Nairobi, Kenya uses wicks and plastic hollow pipes of diameter from 15mm to 150mm through which water is let to flow.

“This irrigation system is very effective as we have tried it in Soma and currently we are setting it for farmers in Turkana County to help then grow different crops such as spinach, kales, okra, jute mallow, spider plant, eggplant, capsicum, cow peace, nightshade, amaranths, and watermelon in the dry area,” said Musa Juma, technician at Ruben Centre.

RELATED ARTICLE: Drip irrigation enables farmers to cultivate more with a few drops

How the system is set

Though setting a wick irrigation system is technical which needs an expert, trained farmers can set it by themselves in their farms once the required materials are assembled.

First a farmer needs to prepare wick garden, for example, measuring 2mx4m with a capacity of 75 litres of water sustaining the garden for two weeks.

Two small cuts parallel to each other are them made depending on the thickness of the wick at some intervals depending on the crop spacing from the top on one side of the pipe.

The cuts are supposed to enable insertion of the wicks with the shorter end of about 15mm is let inside the pipe while the other longer end of the wick is left hanging.

The pipe is then properly buried inside and covered with soil completely with side holding the wicks facing upwards. The pipe should be tested whether it balances by letting some water run through it.

The longer hanging side of the wicks outside the pipes are then spread away from the pipe and covered shallowly in the soil on either side of the pipe.

RELATED ARTICLE: University lecturer invents automated irrigation system that will help farmers’ water crops correctly

Seedling is then planted on either side of the wicks with the correct spacing. This is done for all the pipes in the farm before letting water fully in them and then closed from either ends until it is completely sucked by the wicks and to the plant root for uptake.

“once a farmer does all these, he or she does not need to be in the farm to manage the irrigation as it will be automatic until the pipes are run out of the water and there is need to add more,” said Juma.

RELATED ARTICLE: Drip irrigation enables farmers to cultivate more with a few drops

Ruben Centre offers wick irrigation training at a fee for farmers.

Caption: Musa Juma of Ruben Centre explaining how wick irrigation works. Photo: Zablon Oyugi.

Juma can be reached on +254 722 672 250 while Ruben Centre on +254 0778848801 / 0717 788 801 or Email:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top