NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on
Wednesday unveiled a toolbox to help promote solar powered
irrigation across the east Africa region.
FAO’s land and water officer for Kenya, said that the
solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS) will be used to scale up
solutions for irrigation and other productive uses, such as
livestock watering, homestead gardening and domestic uses.
“The toolbox will
help increase arable land since land used for agriculture under
rain fed is already shrinking,” Gitonga said during a meeting
for irrigation experts from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and
Nigeria held in Nairobi.
that even though solar pumps are commonly used for drinking
water supply in East Africa, there is a need to better
understand the feasibility, applicability and their potential in
He said that with
the reduction of water due to climate change, there is need for
supplementary irrigation in food production to help feed the
increasing population in the region.
“The introduction of
the toolbox will play an important role in increasing food
productivity per acreage and also increase production from arid
and semi-arid lands into serious food producing areas,” he
The FAO official
said that there has been a growing interest in solar
technologies in recent years because they are relatively
affordable, climate friendly and adaptable to different
farmers to produce food when there is low rainfall and during
off seasons,” he added. Gitonga noted that the new toolbox has
made farming through solar irrigation interesting especially for
He revealed that the
UN agency has carried out a number of relevant studies,
including an assessment of water resources in Kalobeyei and
Kakuma in northern Kenya looking for applicability for refugee
camps and host communities.
Gitonga noted that
given the plenty of sunshine and willingness of the private
sector in support of solar power, the regional countries are
capable of producing plenty of food both for local consumption
He however noted
that the new initiative requires building of capacity for users,
proper financing, good water quality and quantity and hectares
of land to irrigate to help make a difference.
The official said
that the workshop is meant to provide participants with an
overview of what is needed to make solar technologies work in
different contexts - finance, design, set-up and irrigation
management and how to create an enabling environment for the
sustainable use of SPIS.
SPIS provides a
clean alternative to fossil fuels and enables the development of
low-carbon irrigated agriculture.
The toolbox was
developed by FAO in collaboration with German Technical