Paul Polak’s New Blog

Irrigation in Senegal (source)

Paul Polak has an enormous store of experience and wisdom, which he’s sharing on his new blog, at Some snippets:

On our quest to help poor smallholders improve their livelihoods, we created useful tools such as treadle pumps and low cost drip systems. But they only addressed about 25% of the problem.

To solve the other 75% of the problem, an effective way to put these tools in the hands of millions of last mile customers had to be designed. – Design for the Other 90% and Wild Blueberries.

Paul goes on to tell a story I found fascinating, about finding one unusually successful blueberry farmer and learning his secret – about knowing when to let weeds grow, to increase blueberry yields.

In another series of posts, Paul makes some statements that will upset many appropriate technology advocates. Here’s one:

The appropriate technology movement died because it was led by well-intentioned tinkerers instead of hard-nosed entrepreneurs designing for the market.  – The Death of Appropriate Technology I : If you can’t sell it don’t do it

Then there’s a recent series of posts on sprinkling can farmers in Asian Africa. The title of one post, How to Triple the Income of Sprinkling Can Farmers in Asia and Africa, strikes me as exactly the kind of question that needs to be asked by aid and development workers.

Enjoy your reading.