Powering Agriculture Winter 2019 Newsletter

Published Mar. 5, 2019

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.

Updates from Powering Agriculture | Winter 2019

Powering Agriculture Annual Report Available

Link to report

We have published the Powering Agriculture annual report covering fiscal year 2018. The report includes Innovator updates, program highlights, and plans for the final year of the Grand Challenge. It was a busy year, with the creation of the Investment Alliance, our 2 nd Powering Agriculture Xcelerator Workshop and Innovator Showcase taking place in Nairobi in January, completion of the first Innovator cohort's projects, and pilot demonstrations and field testing leading to lessons learned and progress for the second cohort. The full report can be found on our project website. 

Stories from the Field: Innovators in Action

The Powering Agriculture team recently conducted visits to two innovator project sites to review progress on project implementation and gather information from beneficiaries, local staff, and others about the benefits of their clean energy solutions.

University of Toronto

The team visited the University of Toronto’s solar uplift aeration, or SUpA, project sites in Mymensingh, Bangladesh, October 27-November 3, 2018. Nineteen beneficiaries have been using the solar aeration technology, with 34 units deployed. The system has been through several iterations, with the most recent version installed in ponds used by smallholder aquaculture farmers. By converting solar radiation to thermal energy, the systems increase dissolved oxygen content at all depths which provides a more conducive environment for fish growth. Farmers noted benefits that include increased fish sizes and weights, and reduced mortality rates, all of which lead to increased income.


During the January 20-February 1, 2019, trip, the team visited several of KickStart's project sites in Kenya. KickStart is working to develop a low-cost solar irrigation pump, along with a pay-as-you-go financing platform. During visits to 26 farmers, the team observed a variety of uses for the solar irrigation pumps, including: watering of greenhouse vegetables; watering of livestock, including chickens and urban dairy cows; small-scale concrete production; and aquaculture. Many benefits were reported by the pump users, including: reduced drudgery for men and women; increased income, which has allowed for expansion of cultivated areas; increased female autonomy on farms, allowing women to irrigate crops independent of husbands and male family members; and reduced petrol consumption.

Energy Efficiency in Kenya's Tea Sector

Kenya is one of the world’s leading exporters for tea. While tea is Kenya's most valuable agricultural export, the production of tea is responsible for high electricity and energy consumption, and the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). Rising temperatures in Kenya also threaten tea production itself, with tea only growing in cooler temperatures. There are many opportunities to limit the negative impacts of tea production and reduce energy costs. GIZ has collaborated with local and international tea organizations and companies (Ethical Tea Partnership, Kenyan Tea Development Agency, Mars Drinks, and Yorkshire Tea) to catalyze energy savings and climate mitigation measures. Since 2014, the project has implemented 68 audits in Kenyan tea factories. These audits have resulted in energy cost savings of US$3.5 million, protected 1.3 million trees from being used for firewood, and saved 10.000 tons of CO2 .

Click below to view a video about the project:

Powering Agriculture YouTube Channel

Did you know that Powering Agriculture has a YouTube channel? You can find Innovator profile videos, highlights from our events, and updates from our Innovators and Partners. Check it out and subscribe here.

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.