Site Visit To The Democratic Republic Of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa is not everybody’s ideal holiday destination.

by Adam Marsh | Saturday 18 February 2012

However, Wright Rain Managing Director, Nigel Palmer, made the trip to assist with the irrigation systems supplied to two oil palm plantations in the centre of the country.

Wright Rain provided design and technical support for the two substantial, and challenging, sprinkler systems and supplied the equipment over the last 18 months.

Both systems had nearly 80 metres lift from the river to the nurseries and the large, high pressure, diesel pump units have to contend with a river water level variation of over 6 metres between wet and dry seasons.

As the rivers are tributaries of the main Congo River, the water is fast flowing and silt laden, causing fast erosion of the river banks under the pump positions and producing vast, shifting, sand banks in the river.

Logistics are a challenge for the estates as main equipment is delivered from Kinshasa via cargo ship up the river against the current, taking around 3 months. Smaller items can be flown to site using expensive charter planes and the new site runway, surface leveled and hardened using termite mounds.
Two to three days are required to reach Kinshasa from the estates by road over the 1,000km by 4WD truck.

The estates have to be self-sufficient, even to the extent of employing workers in the villages on the route to Kinshasa to keep the roads passable and supplying fuel and maintenance to the ferry of a river crossing several hundred kilometers from site to ensure that the engine starts when they need to cross.

The sprinkler systems operate morning and evening to apply water to the young plants on a daily basis with sprinkler moves every half hour to apply around an 8mm application.

Wright Rain have provided irrigation systems throughout the World for over 50 years and are delighted to still provide back-up and support to all their customers over that period as is expected of a progressive company in the 21st century.


Nigel Palmer
Wright Rain Ltd
+44 (0) 23 8081 7800

Saturday 18 February 2012 / file under Environmental | Agriculture