International Development Enterprises India


IDEI is a non-profit product development firm, which fills the gap of less-profit-focused R+D to design energy-saving water-focused products based on farmer need.


Energy Products/Services

  • Human Powered Treadle Pumps
  • Drip Irrigation Systems


Target Market

  • Indian smallholder farmers without access to proper irrigation.
Headquarters: New Delhi, India
Established: as an independent entity in India 2001; prior to that working as country office of IDE(USA) since 1991
Impact Areas: India
Type: Nonprofit
Energy Sectors:
  • Power Source: Other Power Sources; Human Power
  • Power Use: Powering Specialized Products and Services
Business Model Types:
Staff Size: 700 full-time and temporary
Annual Budget: $5.8 million
Major Funders: Many
Awards: 2004: Tech Museum of Innovation Award
2005:Templeton Freedom Prize Award for Social Entrepreneurship, Skoll Foundation: Social Entrepreneur Award 
2006: Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy, Named to shortlist for US$1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability
2008: Schwab Foundation: Outstanding Social Entrepreneur Award
2009: Ashden Awards: Outstanding Achievement Award 
2010: Zayed Future Energy Prize

Value Proposition

  • IDEI sets up a supply chain for the private sector to sell its product, and conducts marketing in the areas in which it sells.
  • IDEI is effectively using grant money to create markets and conduct R+D, that have long been crucial barriers to improved technology adoption.
  • The increased productivity and diesel saved from the use of IDEI’s Treadle Pump enables farmers to earn a net additional income of US$ 400 per year.

Problem Addressed

  • Smallholder farmers in India (75% of India’s farmers, or 540m people) lack access to irrigation technologies.
  • Most research and development is focused on more profitable, larger scale customers, and small farmers only have access to diesel powered irrigation which they can barely afford, keeping them dependent on rain for food cultivation
  • This is compounded by droughts caused by climate-change.

Impact to Date

  • 1.2 million farmers have generated $1.2 billion in income
  • Over 800, 000 treadle pump and 300, 000 drip irrigation systems adopted by smallholder farmers
  • 5.2 billion m3 of water saved with the use of drip irrigation systems
  • 700 million kWh electricity saved
  • Pumps ranging in price from $13-$40, which is easily affordable to smallholder farmers
  • $400 average increase in annual household net income
  • 50% average increase in crop yield
  • 602.8 million liters of diesel saved by using treadle pumps instead of diesel pumps



  • 1997: Started research and development on low-cost drip irrigation system
  • 2001: IDEI became an Independent Indian Entity
  • 2004: Facilitated formation of Global EasyWater Products, a for-profit company, to meet global drip demands
  • 2007: Began rapid scaling thanks to Gates Foundation grant
  • 2009: Received seed funding to establish a research and design center


Growth Plan

  • Create an ‘Innovation to Impact’ research center that will develop new irrigation technologies
  • Create new markets for our technologies




Product Sourcing & Development

  • IDEI develops its products through an intensive process of research, and then trains local manufacturers to produce them.



  • IDEI distributes through local dealers, linking them to their partner manufacturers and helping them with marketing and awareness raising.


Supply chain Financing

  • IDEI doesn’t provide finance to the supply chain itself.  Dealers buy directly from manufacturers.
  • However, IDEI does facilitate distributors and manufacturers to access credit.



  • IDEI conducts awareness raising campaigns in villages when it enters a new region, showing films to promote its products.
  • IDEI sells all its product through a brand, Krishak Bandhu, which is trusted and respected.  Its own name has very little recognition.


Social Impact

  • IDEI is entirely impact focused.  To increase their impact, they go beyond product development to do knowledge campaigns to help farmers improve production and link to markets after they produce.
  • Main metrics:
    • Carbon saved
    • Diesel saved
    • Water saved by drip products
    • Electricity saved
    • Number of work days created for farmers, dealers, and manufacturers
    • Income impact
    • Number of households who have adopted the technology


Revenue & Affordability

  • Products are priced low enough to not require financing, though farmers sometimes save for 1-2 months to buy.
  • One major challenge is that the government subsidizes more expensive products which are bought on credit and often forgives loans if customers can’t pay.  This distorts the market for customers who could afford to buy IDEI’s cheaper products.



  • IDEI is non-profit and grant-financed.
  • However, to make their model more sustainable, they have begun facilitating for-profit subsidiaries, to sell the products IDEI develops.  The first is Global Easy Water Products, an Acumen Fund investee, which sells the drip irrigation technologies.
  • Profits are returned to the business, but being a for-profit allows GEWP to offer investors a return.
  • IDEI has done one carbon credit process for its treadle pumps with JP Morgan and is starting the process of validation for drip irrigation.