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Three Points on why Solar Powered Irrigation can Happen for Smallholder Farmers


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Presented by Dr. Jennie Barron of WLE on April 12, 2018 during the opening plenary for the International Forum on Solar Technologies for Small-scale Agriculture and Water Management at FAO headquarters in Rome. To learn more about the forum, read this Thrive blog piece:

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Three Points on why Solar Powered Irrigation can Happen for Smallholder Farmers

  1. 1. Three points on why solar-powered irrigation can happen for smallholder farmers Jennie BARRON , Professor Agricultural Water Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences LWS Flagship leader, CGIAR Research Program ‘Water, Land and Ecosystems’ (WLE)
  2. 2. WLE is global research- for-development program connecting partners for agriculture solutions that protect people and our natural resources Land, soil & ecosystems Risks, tradeoffs & ecosystems Inclusivity Connected thinking, compelling solutions Water & ecosystems
  3. 3. CGIAR Research Program Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and solar powered irrigation for smallholders  Research for development in sustainable agricultural intensification and poverty alleviation in Africa and Asia  WLE works in partnership with public and private sectors, as well as practitioners from global to local scale  Solar powered irrigation for 5+ years, smallholder irrigation development in 10+ years  On the ground experience in Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali , MENA) and Asia (India in Gujarat and Bihar)  Develop knowledge base for investment, policy and practise, collaborate in piloting for learning
  4. 4. We don’t have a lot of ‘silver bullet’ solutions for sustainable intensification and climate resilience…  Water management, incl. irrigation, critical for sustainable intensification  Water management fundamental for smallholder farmer income generation and food security  Water management in agriculture essential to meet ecosystems targets and climate resilience
  5. 5. Solar powered irrigation is a nexus opportunity for smallholder farmers…if technologies work and are available
  6. 6. Are partnerships for piloting and development mobilising? Systems approach for solutions demands multiple actors and disciplines:  Human, institutional capacity to analyse and develop  Innovations, data and technology  Levelled market and policy arena  Wise (=best informed) investments by public, private investors and IFIs
  7. 7. Thank you! If you wish to take part in this conversation, please join us at
  8. 8. List of WLE material and contributions  Closas, A.;, Rap. E. 2017. Solar-based groundwater pumping for irrigation: Sustainability, policies, and limitations. Energy Policy,104:33-37  Schmitter, P., Kibret, KS., Lefore, N.,Barron, J. 2018. Suitability mapping framework for solar photovoltaic pumps for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa Applied Geography, (online)  Otoo, M., Lefore, N., Schmitter, P., Barron, J., Gebregziabher, G. 2018. Business model scenarios and suitability: smallholder solar pump-based irrigation in Ethiopia. Agricultural Water Management Making a Business Case for Smallholders. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI) 67p. (IWMI Research Report 172)  ITP work: tata_water_policy_research_highlight-issue_10_2016.pdf  ICIMOD work: