Solar-Powered Drip Irrigation
From “Innovation of the Week: Harnessing the Sun’s Power to Make the Water Flow” by Janeen Madan:
Nearly 2 billion people around the world live off the electricity grid. Lack of access to energy can take a huge toll, especially on food security. Without energy for irrigation, for example, small-scale farmers must rely on unpredictable rainfall to grow the crops they depend on for food and income.
In the Kalalé district of northern Benin, agriculture is a source of livelihood for 95 percent of the population. But small-scale farmers lack access to effective irrigation systems. Women and young girls spend long hours walking to nearby wells to fetch water to irrigate their fields by hand. The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a U.S. nonprofit, has introduced an innovative solar-powered drip irrigation system that is helping farmers—especially women—irrigate their fields. The pilot project launched in partnership with Dr. Dov Pasternak of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRASAT), has installed solar panels in Bessassi and Dunkassa villages. This cost-effective and environmentally sustainable project is improving food security and raising incomes by providing access to irrigation for small-scale farmers, especially during the six-month dry season.
Read the full article by Janeen Madan for Nourishing the Planet.