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GIZ and Energy 4 Impact join forces to give a green energy boost to farmers in West and East Africa


GIZ and Energy 4 Impact are pleased to announce the start of a new collaboration under the Water and Energy 4 Growth initiative. The partnership consists of three programmes designed to promote the uptake of innovative solar irrigation technologies and business models across Benin, Senegal and Tanzania. It aims to improve livelihoods, food security and resilience amongst smallholder farmers living in poor and marginalised communities.

WE4F is a joint international initiative to improve energy and water efficiency in the agricultural sector through environmentally sustainable innovations. This collaboration with Energy 4 Impact will address some critical shortcomings in traditional farming methods. Farming in sub-Saharan African is typically characterised by unmechanized farming systems reliant on rainfed production. Smallholder farmers struggle with insufficient knowledge of efficient cropping techniques, agronomic and horticultural practices, limited access to farm inputs such as seeds and fertiliser, and a lack of appropriate storage facilities, technology and market data, digital services and mobile finance.

The lack of irrigation is both a symptom and cause of such problems.  This new initiative will put three collaborative programmes in place in order to provide innovative clean energy solutions.  

  • Solar Irrigation for Smallholder Farmers in Least Developed Regions of Tanzania will boost the livelihoods and resilience of Tanzanian smallholder farmers through holistic support services, access to finance and information and increasing the uptake of small-scale solar irrigation equipment.

The Green energy and finance to energize food production in Senegal and Benin project is split into separate work programmes for each country. Both programmes aim to improve the livelihoods and resilience of paddy rice farmers and processors through access to solar irrigation and processing technologies, technical assistance and holistic support services.

  • Senegal: Transforming Rice Production and Processing through Productive Use of Energy for Improved Livelihood and Food Security in Senegal
  • Benin: Transforming Rice Production and Processing through Efficient and Renewable Energy in Benin

Making farmers aware of the advantages of solar-powered irrigation is at the heart of this initiative: the programmes will improve their solar market knowledge, provide information on how energy efficiency improves profitability, demonstrate business models for scaling up, co-ordinate linkages with financial institutions for loans and suppliers for pay-as-you-go services, and  furnish technical assistance. Yet beyond the acquisition of small-scale solar irrigation units, WE4F will take a holistic approach to ensure the long-term efficacy of such programmes. Therefore the support to farmers from GIZ and Energy 4 Impact will also encompass advice on agronomy, productive uses of solar energy in post-harvest processing and routes to market.  

It is anticipated that such innovative clean energy solutions will boost farm profitability, local markets and the wider agricultural sector. For smallholder farmers, it will lead to increased productivity, higher incomes, increased resilience to drought, stronger agronomic and commercial skills, diversification of crops and easier access to finance. We also envisage a ripple effect on local markets: governments in the target regions have made a commitment to support this initiative by facilitating agricultural extension work. The three programmes will also generate a wealth of knowledge that will help galvanize the use of renewable energy within the agricultural sector.  

WE4F is a joint international initiative that aims to support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in the water, energy and food sectors. The initiative is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). It aims to boost food production through more sustainable and efficient usages of water and energy, increase income amongst poor communities, scale sustainable innovations, and promote climate and environmental resilience and biodiversity through the holistic management of natural resources and ecosystems.

GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) is a German development agency providing services in the field of international development cooperation. GIZ seeks to further sustainable development by aiming at economic development through social inclusion and environmental protection. GIZ offers consulting and capacity building services in a wide range of areas, including management consulting, rural development, sustainable infrastructure, security and peace-building, social development, governance and democracy, environment and climate change, and economic development and employment.