In sub-Saharan Africa, 95% of farmers primarily rely on rainfall for irrigation but climate change threatens crop yields & livelihoods. Solar-powered irrigation systems are a key solution – yet uptake is low. To develop and discuss how we could make progress, CLASP hosted a workshop in June 2022 with participants that included manufacturers, distributors, financiers, program implementors, and government officials.
This report identifies barriers in four categories, technology developing & innovation, affordability & financing, consumer awareness, and business & operational models, and suggests solutions for each one. These possible next steps will inform the Kenya Productive Use of Renewable Energy Program’s strategy to supporting smallholder farmers across the country.
- Prioritize development of irrigation solutions that are high-performing, low-cost, require low maintenance, and can work under low solar irradiance.
- Bundle financing solutions for SWPs with other irrigation equipment, such as drip irrigation kits, water harvesting & storage structures.
- Create centers of excellence/demonstration centers for experiential learning targeting smallholder farmers, including village-based champion farmers who can serve as ambassadors and trainers for fellow smallholder farmers.
- Leverage the existing network of local technical installers by building their capacity through training and certification to build a healthy installation and aftersales support ecosystem.
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