18/05/2010

Without water, there can be no life



by Karin Wik, Volvo Group Newsdesk

The farmers in the desert in Saudi Arabia are totally dependent on their irrigation equipment. Otherwise, their crops will die, thereby eliminating their source of income.

10, 000 industrial engines from Volvo Penta are working day and night, keeping the fields alive and making Saudi Arabia self-sufficient when it comes to wheat, among other crops.

Jan-Eje Persson has spent more than 20 years selling engines in Saudi Arabia. When he is his way home from one of his visits, he often looks out of the window as the aircraft takes off from the capital, Riyadh.
“When I see all the green fields that stand out so clearly in the desert landscape, I think that the irrigation equipment at half of them is powered by an engine from Volvo Penta and that feels really good,” he says, with a smile.

During the more than 40 years Volvo Penta has been working in Saudi Arabia, the company has sold in excess of 45,000 diesel engines. About 10,000 of them are still in operation.

The pumps are powered by an engine, which pumps up water from a deep hole in the ground. This water is then led to a large irrigation unit that carefully distributes it over the fields of crops such as wheat, fruit, vegetables and fodder for the animals.

The fields stretch for kilometres through the desert and the farmers frequently have to travel by car from one irrigation system to the next. Because of the large distances and hot climate, with the powerful sun, it is vital that the engines never stop working.

“The crops would be burnt in a couple of hours if they didn’t get enough water, so the performance of the engines is absolutely vital,” says Jan-Eje Persson.

He has visited many farmers during his years with Volvo Penta and he says that they would not be able to make a living without their irrigation equipment.
“They are totally dependent on water if they want to work as farmers and take care of their animals. What’s more, thanks to these farmers and their work, Saudi Arabia is self-sufficient when it comes to wheat, for example, in spite of the harsh climate,” adds Jan-Eje Persson.

Volvo Penta and their local importer also collaborate with a number of authorities in Saudi Arabia, including the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water, to ensure that the environment is protected to the greatest possible degree. Among other things, they have developed a satellite surveillance system to improve control of the pumps.

“It goes without saying that it is first and foremost a question of business,” says Jan-Eje Persson.
“But it still feels as though we are actually helping to make life more bearable for these farmers,” he says.  

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