Solar irrigation for Smallholder Farmes – is it increasing resilience and reducing poverty? (GIZ, IKEA Foundation, SNV, Oorja, SunCulture)

Solar irrigation has been heralded as a key productive use of renewable energy (PURE) technology for reducing poverty and increasing resilience in poor rural communities around the globe. Smallholder farmers should be able to increase their production and incomes and better withstand droughts while saving manual labor by adopting solar powered irrigation systems. But can the technology really do all these things?


This is an interactive session focusing on what is seen as a pivotal solution for addressing the dual challenges of poverty and climate change, and one that resonates deeply with the IVECF sub-theme of Solutions for powering agri-food systems. The discussion will spotlight the achievements in reaching smallholder farmers with solar irrigation systems but will also elucidate the many challenges still ahead and will question to what extent this technology is actually reducing poverty and increasing resilience for smallholders, and what more it can do with improved business models or more targeted support.


The event will include brief presentations from the IKEA Foundation, SunCulture and Oorja Development Solutions, as well as introductory statements from Energising Development.  The panelists represent donor, implementer and private sector representative invested in promotion of solar irrigation. After the brief inputs, the session will open up to a participatory debate involving the panelists and the audience. The interactive nature of the session will foster a dynamic discourse on pivotal facets concerning the future trajectory of solar irrigation for small-scale farming communities.

The session will be moderated by Helen Kyomugisha (GIZ), the Programme Component Manager for Energising Development Uganda’s solar component. Helen will bring in insights from the growing SPIs market in Uganda, and from the implementation of the IKEA Foundation funded EnDev SEFFA (Sustainable Energy for smallholder Farmers) project in Uganda. Jolanda van Ginkel, Programme Manager for Renewable Energies at the IKEA Foundation will speak on the experiences promoting solar irrigation at the IKEA Foundation and also on the evidence from the three-country SEFFA (Sustainable Energy for Smallholder Farmers) project. Sejal Agarwal of Oorja Development Solutions Limited in India will explain the dynamic growth of their Irrigation as a Service for smallholders business model and why they are not selling water pumps to farmers. Jackline Mumbi of SunCulture in Kenya,  will explain progress in reaching smallholder farmers in Kenya with solar water pumps. SunCulture is one of the leading solar irrigation companies in East Africa and also a participant in the EnDev SEFFA RBF Fund for the promotion of solar water pumps for smallholders in Kenya, implemented by SNV.


Nov 02 2023


2:00 pm - 2:55 pm


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