Government-led Coalition Invests $12.9m into Clean Energy Agtech Innovations for Emerging Markets

Published: Dec. 10, 2015

By Louisa Burwood-Taylor for AgFunder News

In 2015,
Village Infrastructure Angels (VIA)
(United Kingdom) received a Powering Agriculture award for the
Early Adoption/Distribution (Stage 4) of
Solar Photovoltaic
solutions for
Processing
in the production of
Staple Crops
in
Indonesia
Papua New Guinea
Philippines
Vanuatu

About Powering Agriculture

Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development supports the development and deployment of clean energy innovations that increase agriculture productivity and stimulate low carbon economic growth in the agriculture sector of developing countries to help end extreme poverty and extreme hunger.

A coalition of national governments, aid agencies, corporations and private funding organizations last month awarded $12.9 million worth of grants to 13 clean energy innovations targeting emerging market agriculture.

This is the second round for the Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) program, which aims to identify and support new and sustainable innovations that are developing and deploying clean energy solutions for agriculture in developing countries.

PAEGC is funded by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Sweden (SIDA), the Government of Germany (BMZ), Duke Energy Corporation, and the United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) after they pledged a total of $47.1 million to the initiative in 2012. The program is scheduled to run until 2019.

The 13 innovations that won funding were chosen from 871 applicants, of which 60 percent were based in developing countries.

SunCulture, a company, creating solar-powered irrigation kits for smallholder farmers across several African countries, received the largest grant at $2 million.

Receiving just a few dollars less was Futurepump, a Kenyan business also creating a solar-powered irrigation business.

Other successful innovations included SimGas Tanzania, which is using biogas to chill milk produced by East African dairy farmers with the aim of doubling their income, and Village Infrastructure Angels, a business building solar-powered agro-processing power stations across Asia.

As well as receiving funding, the 13 companies received a week of training and acceleration before the innovator showcase on November 20 in Washington DC.

Conducted by VentureWell, with Investors’ Circle, this week of training involved a series of workshops aimed at helping innovators scale-up their strategies by identifying distribution channels, marketing plans and creating a clear timeline for short and long-term goals. The training week also helped the companies increase their investment preparedness.

VentureWell will continue its relationship with the innovators and provide additional mentorship, according to a spokesperson.

PAEGC goes further than supporting innovations that applied for grant funding.

Next February, PAEGC is launching a free online course on sustainable energy for food in cooperation with TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences. The course will introduce approaches for sustainably providing energy throughout all stages of agricultural value chains.

The initiative has also recently published a report that its funders and partners wrote with the Food and Agriculture Association called Opportunities For Agri-Food Chains To Become Energy-Smart.

The report aims to assist actors along the value chain, policy-makers, and other stakeholders in the agri-food industry to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, reduce related greenhouse gas emissions, and to help them become more resilient to possible future climate change impacts.

You can download it here.

Related News & Events: 
Mar. 8, 2017

Congratulations to Powering Agriculture innovators Futurepump and SunCulture! They're both finalists for the 2017 Ashden International Award. Established in 2001, the Ashden Awards are a globally recognized measure for excellence in the field of green energy

Mar. 8, 2017

Futurepump's innovations change lives! Kenyan farmer Evans Shikuku recently bought a calf with the savings he realized by irrigating with a Futurepump solar pump. "The solar pump has helped me buy a cow to feed my family in addition to making an extra coin from the sale of milk,” said Shikuku.

Feb. 22, 2017

Promethean's system allows for chilling milk at source, which is a win-win for dairy plants and farmers. Dairies get milk with less microbial load and spoilage possibility; farmers benefit from a more flexible delivery time and increased herd size. They can also expect to fetch a better price.

Feb. 21, 2017

Futurepump's SF-1 solar irrigation pump strikes a balance between cost and performance. It sells for $650, and for that, farmers get the pump and a 80-watt photovoltaic solar panel, which on a full day of bright sunlight can pump 12,000 liters of water—enough for farmers with one acre plots.