UK invests £800k in solar-powered irrigation

Businesses are being invited to bid for a share of up to £800,000 to develop affordable solar-powered irrigation pumps for farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. The Department for International Development (DFID) […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Businesses are being invited to bid for a share of up to £800,000 to develop affordable solar-powered irrigation pumps for farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is investing the cash to help boost productivity in the region and deploy the technology in other developing regions.

The proposed pump should be “portable and cheap”, with a production cost of £30, be lightweight, work with existing irrigation systems and work in both sunshine and light cloud.

It must also be able to withstand extreme weather events, according to Innovate UK which is running the competition.

“Studies show that good irrigation can increase productivity by over 100% but most African smallholders can’t afford traditional irrigation equipment. Treadle pumps are labour intensive and often not suitable for women farmers. Motorised pumps have high running costs”, Innovate UK stated.

It expects projects to have a value of up to £50,000.

The registration deadline is 2nd December.