Powering Agriculture April 2017 Newsletter

Published: Apr. 27, 2017

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.

Another Innovator Graduates: EarthSpark International

EarthSpark International planned to use its Powering Agriculture grant to pilot a solar-diesel hybrid microgrid system in the small village of Les Anglais, Haiti. The system was intended to increase access to affordable, reliable electricity for value-added agricultural processing.

Microgrid in Haiti.

EarthSpark micro-grid in Les Anglais, Haiti

By March 2017, EarthSpark had expanded the microgrid in Les Anglais from a pilot stage with 54 connections to a town-sized, solar-powered smart grid providing power to residents and commercial clients through a total of 452 connections. The project identified and supported acquisition of three agricultural processing technologies - a corn mill, a corn thresher, and a deep fryer. While these items haven't yet shown a significant economic benefit, the entrepreneur-owners continue to refine their business models to increase profitability.

Hurricane damage to housing and grid

Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Les Anglais. Photo: EarthSpark International

In October 2016, a category 4 hurricane made landfall in Les Anglais, inflicting serious damage on the town. The grid fared well, considering the intensity of the storm. 40% of the solar panels were damaged and nearly all of the distribution system as well as home connections will need to be rebuilt. EarthSpark is raising funds for the grid's rehabilitation and plans to be fully functional once again by the end of 2017.

GIZ Hosts Annual Partners Meeting

Powering Agriculture's Founding Partners

Powering Agriculture's Founding Partners

On March 28 and 29, the Powering Agriculture Founding Partners gathered in Bonn, Germany, for their annual meeting. Topics covered during the meeting included: knowledge management activities, such as ongoing collaboration with the UNFAO; activities supported through GIZ's East Africa Hub; Innovator progress and acceleration support being provided to Innovators; plans for a financing facility; and Innovator status and progress.

Stories from the Field: Innovators In Action

Motivo tractor

The Powering Agriculture team visited Motivo Engineering's project site at Maharajpet, India, outside Hyderabad, on March 7-11, 2017. The visit was conducted to review the implementation of Motivo's HARVEST (Hybrid Agriculture/Road Vehicles with Electricity Storage and Transformation) system. Motivo has been working with local farmers to test HARVEST's ability to prepare fields between growing seasons.

Motivo tractor in the field.

The team interviewed HARVEST operators, beneficiaries, project staff, and local officials to collect information on the project's impact. The interviews revealed widespread excitement about HARVEST's ability to decrease fuel expenses and make smallholder farming more competitive.

Irrigation Paper Publication

Powering Agriculture is pleased to have its paper "Increasing productivity through irrigation: Problems and solutions implemented in Africa and Asia" published in the journal Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments. The authors drew from the experiences of several Innovators to provide insights on the challenges inhibiting the spread of irrigation in Asia and Africa, as well as suggested approaches to addressing these issues.

The paper presents three major interconnected problems inhibiting the spread of irrigation in Asia and Africa: lack of access to water, lack of access to energy, and lack of access to finance. Through examination of the work of seven Powering Agriculture Innovators, the paper asserts that new irrigation products and services must include appropriate technology, sales, service, financing, and revenue collection in order for them to be widely adopted by under-served communities.

Innovators in the News

Promenthean Power milk chiller

Promethean Power Systems has been selected as a partner with the USAID-funded Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation Program. Building on the successful deployment of their thermal battery pack in India under Powering Agriculture, this new partnership will help Promethean take their cold chain solutions to dairy farmers Bangladesh.

VentureWell Open 2017

Representatives from iDE, KickStart International, and SunDanzer, along with Powering Agriculture staff participated on a panel at VentureWell Open 2017, held in Washington, DC, on March 24.

Panelists at VentureWell Open 2017

Panelists at VentureWell Open 2017

The panel was titled: Lessons Learned by Early-stage Clean Tech Innovators in Developing Countries. The session featured a very interactive discussion as the moderator walked the Innovators through a series of questions to illuminate their own personal experiences and lessons learned.


Ashden Logo

Two Powering Agriculture Innovators have made the short list for the 2017 Ashden Awards. Futurepump and SunCulture are both in the running for the International Award, which will be awarded in London on June 15.


In other news:

Ashden Logo

The London Stock Exchange Group featured five Powering Agriculture Innovators in the recently published report: Companies to Inspire Africa 2017. Futurepump, Husk Power Systems, SunCulture, and EarthSpark's offshoot SparkMeter, along with CAMCO's partner Village Industrial Power, were all identified by the London Stock Exchange Group as being among Africa's most inspiring small & medium-sized enterprises!

Related News & Events: 
Apr. 27, 2017

EarthSpark graduation! GIZ hosts partners meeting. Motivo Engineering's progress. Promethean Power in new partnership. iDE, KickStart International, & SunDanzer at VentureWell Open. Futurepump & SunCulture shortlisted for Ashden Awards. 5 Powering Ag Innovators on Companies to Inspire Africa list.

Jan. 25, 2017

Powering Ag's Annual Report. Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund announced. VIA finalist for Fire Awards. Samir Ibrahim on Forbes 30 under 30 list. Futurepump and SunCulture on Ashden Awards long list. Promethean Power in The Better India. Motivo began field testing. Futurepump in FarmBiz Africa.

Oct. 25, 2016

Powering Agriculture ‘Graduates’ First Innovators: Earth Institute at Columbia University, Rebound Technologies; Midterm Evaluations Published; Stories from the Field: ICU, UVG, SunCulture; Promethean Power Systems and Futurepump Reach Production Milestones; Innovators In the News; Upcoming Events.

Jul. 25, 2016

Features: Agriculture Innovation Investment Summit and the PAEGC Partner’s Meeting; Stories From the Field: Promethean in India, iDE in Nepal and Honduras, and UGARF in Uganda; Congratulations: SunCulture and SimGas; Innovator Webinars: VIA and Promethean; and Upcoming Events.