A Kenyan company is developing a pay-as-you-grow model for its solar-powered irrigation system that helps smallholder farms improve productivity
Spotted: According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, there are an estimated 33 million smallholder farms in Africa, contributing around 70 per cent of the continent’s food supply. However, many of these farmers lack access to irrigation, or energy to power it, leading to poverty and food insecurity.
Working to change this is SunCulture, a company that uses off-grid solar technology to provide farmers with reliable access to water, irrigation, lighting, and mobile charging. SunCulture provides an all-in-one system that combines solar water pumping technology with high-efficiency drip irrigation so farmers can grow more with less expenditure.
The company claims its turn-key products can increase crop yields by 300 per cent, while reducing water usage by around 80 per cent.
SunCulture also offers a ‘pay-as-you-grow’ option that allows farmers to pay in small monthly installments. The company is currently working with partners such as EEP Africa, USAID, and Self Help Africa to deliver the system to smallholder farmers.
There is a growing acknowledgement that African agriculture can be made more productive by using renewable power and novel financing systems. Other innovators working in this space include pay-as-you-go solar energy kits and solar-powered mini-grids.
Written By: Lisa Magloff