Powering Agriculture February 2018 Newsletter

Published: Feb. 26, 2018

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.

2018 Powering Agriculture Xcelerator Workshop and Innovator Showcase

In January 2018, 35 Innovators, representing 21 Powering Agriculture Innovator teams gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, for a week of business acceleration training. The week-long workshop focused on developing skills needed to find product-market fit and scaling up of innovations. The week included panels on topics ranging from funder perspectives to gender integration, hands-on and small group activities, and site visits to Innovator customer and farmer sites.

Collage of PAX site visit photos featuring Powering Agriculture Innovators at work on their farms
Powering Agriculture Innovator Showcase

The week was capped off by the 2nd Powering Agriculture Innovator Showcase, attended by 150 people from the innovation, investor, donor, and academic communities. Attendees visited each Innovator's station to learn about their clean energy solution, and invested in their favorite Innovations with VentureShillings. The 3 with the highest investment - SimGas, Futurepump, and Village Industrial Power - won the chance to give a 3-minute pitch to the audience.

The showcase also featured a panel discussion on the clean energy/agriculture nexus with specialists from the energy, agriculture, and investment sectors, as well as remarks from Powering Agriculture's Founding Partner representatives from GIZ, Sida, and USAID. Highlight videos of the Showcase can be viewed here at the Powering Agriculture website, or at the Powering Agriculture YouTube channel.

Five More Innovators Graduate

Several of the Innovators from the 2013 cohort have graduated since our last newsletter. In addition to the brief updates included here, more details on the activities accomplished during their Powering Agriculture awards can be found on their Innovator Profile Pages.

Promethean Power Systems sold over 600 units in India by the June 2017 end of their award. This technology is enabling over 25,000 dairy farmers to chill their milk without diesel generators to get their milk to the market safely. None of the 250 Promethean chillers in the field have required a diesel generator. Promethean is now working with USAID's Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program to bring their technology to farmers in Bangladesh.

Two men pour milk into a chiller

African Bamboo completed their award in September 2017 with agreements in place for factory space, bamboo raw materials and other inputs. Sales contracts have been signed for their anticipated annual production of 600,000 m2 per year of bamboo-based composite flooring.

Exterior shot of large, new factory

ECO Consult completed their award in June 2017, having established the first community of practice for hydroponic farming in Jordan. More than 530 people were reached through 19 field days that provided hands-on training and peer-to- peer educational experience, with 200 people trained through a series of 7 workshops.

Farmer growing hydroponic peas

iDE pioneered a new product category of solar pump by the time their award ended in June 2017. As a result of field testing of 1,064 pumps at 48 active field sites; 80 in Honduras, Zambia, Nepal, iDE and its partners have gone through five design iterations of the pump, developing and refining the SF-1 pump, with a 40% reduction in weight and volume while retaining efficiency.

Three Honduran women with their solar pump

Motivo Engineering had shipped, assembled, and field tested two HARVEST prototypes in India by the May 2017 end of their award. Beneficiaries reported a reduction in crop production expenses resulting in savings that are used for additional crop production or paying for general household expenses including food and child education.

A collage featuring a Motivo tractor and solar panels

Innovators in the News

  • Claro Energy was awarded the 2017 Asian Entrepreneurship Award.
  • EarthSpark International's President, Allison Archambault, received the C3E International Award.
  • KickStart International was featured in the short film "A Seed of Maize".
  • Husk Power Systems closed $20 million in funding; founder Manoj Sinha was featured in Forbes.
  • SunDanzer was recognized at the Global LEAP Awards Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition, receiving the Innovation Prizes for both Energy Efficiency and Overall Value, as well as the first prize in the Small Refrigerator category.

Annual Report Published

Cover of Powering Agriculture 2017 Annual Report

Powering Agriculture's latest annual report is now available online. The report includes highlights of the 2017 fiscal year's activities, Innovator updates, and future plans.

Related News & Events: 
Oct. 29, 2019

In this Issue: the Powering Agriculture Policy Round Table. Bulk Procurement Incentives. Stories from the field: Ariya Finergy, Futurepump, and SunCulture. Powering Agriculture at the 2019 Social Capital Markets Conference.

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.

Mar. 5, 2019

In this Issue: 2018 Powering Agriculture annual report published. Innovators in Action: University of Toronto and KickStart. Energy Efficiency in Kenya’s Tea Sector. Powering Agriculture YouTube Channel.

Sep. 24, 2018

In this Issue: Powering Ag forms Investment Alliance. Innovators in Action: iDE Bangladesh & Village Infrastructure Angels. New Resources: Solar-Powered Irrigation Overview & Toolbox | Funding Guide for Innovators | Investa documents on Investment in Sustainable Energy Tech in the Agrifood sector.