When the outside world looks in at Africa with its often naive eyes, one of the major issues that is discussed is lack of water and drouth leaving farmers fields empty. Indeed, there are parts of the continent that struggle from the difficulties of low rainfall, but in many cases it is rather the efficient usage of available water supplies that are the issue. Now, energy efficient technology is supporting farmers to utilise water and rely more upon their crops.
The Swiss engineered Ennos portable solar pump, is an award winning pump that can pump up to 22,000 litres of water a day purely on solar energy (that is before even adding a battery!), is perfect for drip irrigation over relatively large areas of farm land. It is robust and portable, needing little maintenance and as it is connected to a solar panel, reduces fuel costs by 100%. Farmers will feel the benefits in their pocket as they can save up to $1500 per annum as well as a massive 206,000 litres of water a day!
Its portability is perfect for transporting it to nearby farms in order to support many farming households with one pump. And on top of that, it can even be used in small communities to pump water up to storage. To keep it inline with modern trends, diagnostics checks can be made remotely using an app, which means they can maintain Swiss quality from afar.
Inventive Africa had the chance to walk around the workshop of Ennos, which is based at Berner Fachhochschule in Biel, which has a long history w involved with solar innovations, including winning the World Solar Challenge with their vehicle in 1990. Walking through their premises is a fanstatic mix of the story of their development, with high tech testing further optimising their unique design, which could change small (and large) holder farming in the developing world, especially across Africa.
This week, Ennos have announced a partnership with Ifarm 360, a Kenyan Agritechnology company that leverages on its award winning digital crowdfunding platform to mobilise finance, match it up with high-yield-return smallholder farming activities, and Epicenter Africa, a renowned solar and renewable energy provider, dealer and distributor. This partnership will “mobilise resources to to support the installation of over 1000 solar kits” to rural stakeholders across Kenya.
This is just a start, with Ennos seeking partners across the African continent to further distribute their products to farming communities that need them the most. Technology like theirs can enable farmers to grow crops in up to 3 cycles a year, increasing land utility and supporting farmers to earn a living wage.
The African continent is still relying on food imports, but with advances in technology, as well as agricultural training and access to credit, the continent should be able to gradually feed itself and gain control over the import/export deficit.