Without reliable energy services, farmers and agribusinesses in developing countries are less able to increase food production and engage in value-added processing. New technologies, such as solar food dryers and solar water irrigation, allow farmers living off-grid to replace expensive diesel generators with cheaper and cleaner technologies. This segment of the energy access market is still in the early stages of development but much progress is being made in our work with companies that offer modern energy solutions to boost productivity and economic growth.
FuturePump has developed a low-cost solar-powered irrigation system able to mitigate the impact of low and unpredictable rainfalls among small-scale farmers in western Kenya. Their portable irrigation pumps can lift enough water to irrigate half an acre per hour, enabling farmers to grow greater and more consistent volumes of produce year round. The company, operating in East Africa, is already seeing positive correlations between solar irrigation and small holders entering the formal economy, with mobile phone enabled payment making it easier for farmers to both purchase the $650 systems, which they pay for in instalments, and to build up a good credit history.
We are supporting FuturePump to establish their operations in Kenya and introducing them to distributors and sales partners. The company was also given access to testing facilities through the KCIC at the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute, to test performance of the pump. Our team has also introduced the company to potential investors.