Thursday, August 25, 2011

Harnessing the sun’s power to make water flow

CM Monitor
24 August 2011

Change Agent

Small farmers in Benin [Republic] in West Africa are using solar panels to power an innovative drip-irrigation system.

Nearly 2 billion people around the world live off the electricity grid. Lack of access to energy can take a huge toll, especially on food security. Without energy for irrigation, for example, small-scale farmers must rely on unpredictable rainfall to grow the crops they depend on for food and income.

In the Kalalé district of northern Benin, in West Africa, agriculture is a source of livelihood for 95 percent of the population. But small-scale farmers lack access to effective irrigation systems. Women and young girls spend long hours walking to nearby wells to fetch water to irrigate their fields by hand.

The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a US nonprofit, has introduced an innovative solar-powered drip-irrigation system that is helping farmers – especially women – irrigate their fields.

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