Modern, solar-powered agricultural technologies support economic growth and community resilience. A smallholder farmer with fewer than five acres can increase her yield by 30% with just one piece of modern processing equipment.
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Agriculture is the world’s single largest employer, sustaining the livelihoods of 40% of the global population.
Increasing agricultural productivity enhances food and income security
65% of farms in sub-Saharan Africa rely on human power. Modern, solar-powered agricultural technologies enable farmers to maximize the utility of their land while reducing the time and effort needed to do so.
Improving agricultural productivity has a direct impact on poverty alleviation: a 10% increase smallhold farm productivity in Africa leads to a 7% reduction in poverty. Expanding access to durable and affordable irrigation systems, cold storage, and processing equipment, allows farmers to improve their yields and livelihoods while increasing community resilience.
Scaling High-Impact Agricultural Technologies
Solar Water Pumps
Situated at the heart of the water-food-energy nexus, solar water pumps play a critical role in improving the incomes and resilience of rural households while unlocking environmental benefits.
95% of farmed land in sub-Saharan Africa and 60% of land in South Asia rely solely on rainfall for irrigation.
In pursuit of a more efficient, affordable, and consumer-focused solar water pump
Over 500 million farming households worldwide could benefit significantly from adopting modern irrigation technology. By expanding seasonal growing cycles and mitigating periods of low or irregular rainfall, solar water pumps can increase farmer yields by as much as three-fold, providing households with more disposable income to pay for expenses and save for emergencies that reduce their overall vulnerability to risks.
Despite their potential, the market for solar water pumps has yet to achieve scale. CLASP has partnered with leaders in the clean energy access sector to analyze and share essential technology performance data and qualitative consumer feedback collected through field testing and surveys.
These efforts, coupled with consumer-education and awareness campaigns, are unearthing new intelligence on the real-world performance solar water pumps that enable manufacturers to design and market a more durable, affordable and customer-friendly solar water pump.
Learn more about the use and benefits of solar water pumps.
Photo credits: SunCulture and FuturePump
Agriculture Cold Chains
Modern cold chain technology is crucial to developing local and international agriculture-based markets and improving economic outcomes and food security.
Establishing cold chains as extensive and reliable as those in industrialized countries would raise food supply by 15% in developing countries.
Harnessing the power of solar
Agricultural cold chains advance global food security and improve smallholder farmers’ livelihoods by reducing post-harvest loss of high-value crops, increasing profits through greater bargaining power at the marketplace, and enabling better commercialization of agricultural produce in regional and international markets.
Modern cold technology is often out of reach for off-grid communities due to its cost, a lack of access to reliable electricity, and the diverse and uncoordinated stakeholders in the broader ecosystem.
Through the 2018-19 Global LEAP Off-Grid Cold Chain Challenge (OGCCC) CLASP worked to identify and promote the most energy-efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective technologies that can meet the cold storage requirements for fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products in five African countries: Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Building on the work of the OGCCC, CLASP will soon develop a comprehensive market assessment of the potential, opportunities, and barriers for off-grid cold chain technologies.
Milling & Grain Processing
While diesel-powered milling equipment is common throughout developing economies, they are expensive to operate, difficult to run, and harmful to the environment. Solar mills offer a sustainable alternative with numerous benefits for women and girls.
Women in Africa spend a collective 40 billion hours each year on milling.
Understanding Nascent Technologies
Solar milling has the potential to become one of the most important off-grid agricultural technologies due to its universal need in off-grid communities and its ability to improve the opportunities for women and girls. In Africa, women spend 40 billion hours milling each year without compensation. Automating the milling process would free up valuable time for education or income-generating pursuits.
Solar milling is a complex process. Scaling the market will be an involved process requiring significant innovation across multiple engineering disciplines and business models. CLASP recently partnered with Agsol to conduct field testing of solar mills to understand the technology and market requirements needed to close the commercial viability gap.
Before I bought the pump,Galiwango Geofrey
I would not manage to
provide enough water to
crops during the dry season
and I was losing out.
coffee and banana farmer, Uganda
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