Thanks to Futurepump, some of the poorest and most remote farmers in Kenya are now using solar power to irrigate their land. Using solar energy instead of petrol is a win for farmers and for the environment. Futurepump has now manufactured over 1,000 pumps, and is looking for global distributors.
Irregular rainfall means Kenyan farmers are on the lookout for smart, affordable irrigation solutions. Futurepump's Sunflower pump is both of these things. Flexible financing means that farmers can improve harvests and profits while avoiding considerable amounts of GHG emissions.
Futurepump's solar pump is designed for small-scale farmers who can't afford expensive irrigation technology, but who increasingly need to irrigate their crops as rainfall becomes more irregular. The company has sold 200 pumps in Kenya. Another 350 have been sold in other East African countries.
A Futurepump customer since August 2016, Bowa Marita uses the SF1 solar pump with 5 sprinklers to irrigate his greenhouse.
This conference in Nairobi will bring diverse stakeholders together to work toward accelerating rural electrification in Kenya through off-grid renewable energy systems. The Alliance for Rural Electrification is hosting a parallel event that will feature Powering Agriculture innovators SunCulture and Futurepump.
Powering Agriculture & Innovators Sundanzer, Husk Power Systems, Futurepump and SunCulture are featured in a brief issued by SEED discussing ways in which policymakers catalyze development of the energy/agriculture nexus in East Africa.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development says that "smallholders can feed the world". To do so, farmers need access to sustainable tech like the solar pump. Solar irrigation leads to higher yields, and provides farmers with the funds to develop their businesses and educate their children.
Toby Hammond, managing director of Futurepump, believes that solar irrigation technology can relieve food insecurity in drought-stricken Sub-Saharan Africa, and that solar power usage has the potential to transform lives across the continent. However, investment and political will are still needed.
Futurepump’s week-long global Jamboree provided an exciting opportunity for the core design, manufacture, and sales teams to meet in person. The event was attended by representatives from nine different countries and marked a key point in the Futurepump story, in preparation for expansion.
It took Jan Bom and his team of engineers at the Practica Foundation many design iterations to develop a prototype for what is today the “Sunflower” pump—a solar powered irrigation pump designed specifically for rural, small-scale farmers cultivating less than half of a hectare of land.