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Featured photo: Conserving water during irrigation

August 24, 2012

A field in Mexico uses a drip tape irrigation system

A field in Mexico uses a drip tape irrigation system provided by Wade Rain Inc., a small business based in Tualatin, Oregon. Wade Rain’s Mexican subsidiary sells irrigation equipment — most of it manufactured in the U.S. — to small farms in central Mexico and has helped introduce more efficient irrigation technologies such as drip tape, in which long lines of crops are watered with a flat kind of hose with multiple holes.

Tape irrigation can help farmers use up to 80% less water than “gravity irrigation,” in which troughs that run alongside a crop are essentially flooded. Because as much as 70% of the world’s fresh water is used for agriculture, more efficient irrigation systems are critical to conserving water and expanding agricultural production.

Wade Rain is using OPIC political risk insurance to support its operations in Mexico, a country with a dry climate that sources all water from ground wells. The project has had strong benefits for U.S. procurement, importing more than $12 million in U.S. equipment.


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