Africa: USAID and Partners Announce Winners of Agriculture Innovation Competition

Published: Nov. 20, 2105

By allAfrica

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.

Innovators that address global climate change, gender equity, and agriculture's need for clean energy receive up to $2 million in funding and acceleration support

Today, Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development announced 13 new finalists for the development and expansion of game-changing, clean-energy technologies that will enable farmers and agribusinesses to increase food production and the value of agricultural goods, while bolstering low-carbon economic growth. Powering Agriculture is a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Sweden, the Government of Germany, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and Duke Energy Corporation. The announcement took place at the 2015 Powering Agriculture Innovator Showcase in Washington, D.C.,

"Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development demonstrates how we can harness the collective intelligence and entrepreneurship of innovators to help end extreme poverty by providing clean energy to feed the developing world. The 13 winning innovators are a testament to the power of how partnerships can have a positive, transformative impact in development," said USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Charles North.

Selected from a pool of 871 applicants - 62 percent of which are from developing countries - the winning organizations that comprise the 2015 Powering Agriculture Innovator Cohort will collectively utilize $12.9 million in funding to commercialize clean energy technologies and innovative business models that will: (i) enhance agricultural yields/productivity; (ii) decrease post-harvest losses; (iii) improve farmer and agribusiness income generating opportunities and revenues; and (iv) increase energy efficiency within the operations of farms and agribusinesses.

The finalists for the awards and the countries in which they will implement their projects are:

  • Ariya Capital Group (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania): Powering Agriculture with Renewable Energy
  • Claro Energy (India): Low-Cost Pay-Per-Use Irrigation Using Solar Trolley Systems
  • Futurepump (Kenya): Sunflower Pump: Asset-Financed Solar Irrigation Pumps for Smallholder Farmers
  • Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center and Network (Ethiopia): Improving Coffee Production and Quality Using Infrared Technology
  • Husk Power Systems (Ghana, Nigeria): Biomass and Solar PV Hybrid Minigrids for Off-Grid Farming Communities
  • Institute for University Cooperation (ICU) (Jordan, Lebanon): PV-Integrated Drip Irrigation and Fertigation Systems
  • International Development Enterprises (iDE) Bangladesh (Bangladesh): Renewable Microgrids for Off-Grid Fish Hatcheries and Surrounding Communities
  • KickStart International (Kenya): Affordable, High-Performance Solar Irrigation for Smallholder Farmers
  • SimGas Tanzania, Ltd. (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania): Biogas Milk Chilling to Increase Productivity and Incomes of Dairy Farmers
  • SunCulture (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia): Scaling the Distribution of Tailored Agro-Solar Irrigation Kits to Smallholder Farmers
  • University of Toronto (Bangladesh): Field Evaluation of a Passive Aeration System for Aquaculture
  • Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (Guatemala): Private Sector Financed Community Solar Microgrids and Agricultural Accelerators
  • Village Infrastructure Angels (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Vanuatu): Solar Agro-Processing Power Stations

Powering Agriculture uses a nexus approach that concurrently focuses on energy, food production/processing, and water usage to better enable collaboration and coordination amongst numerous countries and donors.

Through its focus on sustainable agriculture, Power Agriculture also complements the goals of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative. Together with Powering Agriculture, these country-driven initiatives aim to deliver on President Obama's promise to reduce hunger and malnutrition through agricultural development.

To learn more about the Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development initiative, please visit: and follow @PoweringAg on Twitter.

Related News & Events: 
Apr. 2, 2019

Powering Agriculture Founding Partner GIZ, in coordination with FAO, announces the launch of a quarterly Solar Pumping & Irrigation newsletter, featuring news, research, and event updates from the field of solar pumping and irrigation.

Speaker Highlights from the 2015 Powering Agriculture Innovator Showcase
Feb. 19, 2016

At the Nov. 20, 2015 Powering Agriculture Innovator Showcase in Washington, D.C., the 2015 Innovator Cohort was introduced to the world. Hear what the Founding Partners, Innovators and guest speakers had to say about Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development.

Powering Agriculture: Voices of the Energy Grand Challenge for Development
Apr. 28, 2015

In developing countries, three out of four people living in poverty have incomes tied to agriculture. Powering Agriculture is finding clean energy solutions to help them. Hear some of the voices of Powering Agriculture from Kenya, where only five percent of farmers have electricity.

Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development
Jun. 12, 2012

Millions of farmers in developing countries have no, or poor quality, grid power, limiting the productivity needed to feed growing populations and farmers out of poverty. To address these barriers to development, the Founding Partners have created Powering Agriculture.