NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Scaling the Solar Market Garden [NDF C3 B1]

8.06.2013
The project aims to validate the ability of solar-powered drip irrigation systems (Solar Market Gardens) to enhance agricultural cash crop production in off-grid villages in sub-Saharan Africa.

Benin
Scaling the Solar Market Garden
Ref: NDF C3 B1

Nordic Partner: Naps Systems Oy (Finland)
Local Partner: Association pour le Developpement Economique Social et Culturel de Kalalé
Other Partner: Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) & International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
Total Project Cost: EUR 699,988
NCF Financing: EUR 415,000
Agreement Signed: 15 November 2010
Project type: Climate change adaptation and mitigation
Duration: 30 months (completed)

Project Objective

To validate the ability of solar-powered drip irrigation systems (Solar Market Gardens) to enhance agricultural cash crop production in off-grid villages in sub-Saharan Africa.

Description

The Kalalé District of Benin is typical of the Sudano-Sahel region i.e. has no reliable electricity supply and inadequate rain-fed subsistence agriculture. The Solar Market Garden (SMG) uses the sun to pump water into tanks that then use gravity to feed the water into low-pressure drip-irrigation systems. Three SMGs were installed in Benin in a previous pilot phase, and according to Stanford University’s evaluation the results were successful. For that reason, Naps Systems Oy was invited to lead an eight-SMG installation effort in anticipation of subsequent local, regional and widespread replication. This validation phase has confirmed the results achieved in the 3-system pilot phase, which indicated that SMGs improved nutrition and food security, provided increased income, and were economically viable in the middle as well as long term. This second phase has extended SMG benefits to eight women groups in eight villages in Kalalé and further positioned the technology for scaling up.

Relevance for Climate Change

The project is highly relevant to the country’s adaptation needs as conserving surface water in vulnerable villages and promoting renewable energy are priority sectors in Benin’s National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA). 85-90% of households in Kalalé depend exclusively on agriculture for their livelihoods. Drought is a major concern in the project area, and climate change vulnerabilities include reduced agricultural production, water shortage, and food insecurity. The project has addressed these issues as irrigation powered by the sun will permit food production in drought years. Furthermore, the project has climate change mitigation impacts as solar energy is an alternative to diesel generators most commonly used to provide off-grid power in developing countries. Diesel generators generate air pollution, break easily down and are costly to operate in the long term. Using solar energy, the project will result in avoiding up to 23 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

The SMG model is innovative since it uses solar energy to power the pumps, combines the solar-power water pumps with the drip irrigation technology, and provides advanced yet simple green technology to remote villages. Knowledge transfer has been achieved through two means. First, through training of local personnel to install and subsequently manage the systems, and second, through the valuable experiences gained from the validation phase and the pilot phase which will be used to replicate and bringing the model to scale.

For more information

Naps Systems Oy
Solar Electric Light Fund
International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics