Solar-Powered Irrigation Boosting Household Incomes


Solar-powered drip irrigation systems significantly increased vegetable production in villages in the western African nation of Benin, improving nutrition and boosting household incomes, according to a new study. The study, led by a researcher at Stanford University’s Program on Food Security and the Environment, installed solar-powered drip irrigation systems in two villages in Benin and compared the impact with two nearby villages that did not have drip irrigation systems.

The study found that, after a year, farmers with the solar irrigation systems saw vegetable production increase by 500 to 750 grams per person per day — three to five times greater than the villages that did not have irrigation systems.

The significantly increased yield meant that farmers could feed their families and sell up to 80 percent of their harvest at local markets, sharply increasing household income, according to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers noted that only 4 percent of cropland in sub-Saharan Africa is irrigated and that the spread of solar-powered drip irrigation technology “could be an important source of poverty alleviation and food security in the marginal environments common to sub-Saharan Africa.”

Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360

[photo credit: Simon Howden]



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7 comments on “Solar-Powered Irrigation Boosting Household Incomes

The tiny African country of Benin is on board with smart irrigation… http://bit.ly/799WgE

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Wow. Go Africa. Does Hawaii even have one? “Solar-Powered Irrigation Boosting Household Incomes” ( http://ow.ly/TpXX )

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Solar powered irrigation – is that what’s next? http://ow.ly/T3Sc ^RE

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Eric

Solar power irrigation was started at Fresno State’s Center for Irrigation Technology around 25 years ago. I worked with the team applying solar irrigation on a grape crop.

Eric

Johannes Guthenberg

Great article and a good example of how solar energy can be used to facilitate and change peoples live. Though I must say that there might also be some disadvantages involved. What happens if every little village will have a solar irrigation system implemented? Will the water supply fall short after a while and the earth will dry out? The danger I see is that if the soil is dried out the fields can no longer be used to harvest crops for a long – long period and thus leave the people with nothing. besides, who is able to afford a solar irrigation system? I sell solar systems myself and I know that they are quite expensive. I thought about establishing an organization specialized in helping those villages. there are many applications for solar energy and irrigation is just one of them, think for example about storing medicine or vacination in a solar powered fridge, powering communication systems and so on. there are plenty of ways to improve peoples life with solar and I believe it is our responsibility to do what we can in our field of expertise. So if your are interesting in helping …. contact me.

Solar powered irrigation is a hand up, not hand out for Africans. Great potential for agriculture everywhere #cleantech http://bit.ly/6joiUb

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Excellent technology to stop desertification, enhance health and keeping people independent in countries, regions, which fight with difficult climate.! but who´s paying for that ?!

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