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Luwero Farmers Tipped On Agrisolar Solutions

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Simon Okitela

In an effort to enhance the adoption and usage of solar technologies to increase the productivity of smallholder farmers, Innovation Village, in partnership with Agri Share Uganda, has sensitised farmers from Luwero district on how they can reap from integrating solar solutions.

The event brought together farmers and AgriSolar innovators to identify actionable solutions, strategies and tactical approaches for unlocking opportunities and increasing access to affordable solar technologies within last-mile communities in the district.

Speaking during the event, Rebecca Nabossa, the programme associate at Innovation Village, said the engagement was aimed at creating synergies among stakeholders within the AgriSolar ecosystem to drive the adoption and usage of solar innovation in farming communities, ultimately boosting farmers’ productivity and increasing their profitability.

“While solar innovation is often pitched as a solution to challenges in the agriculture sector, there remains a substantial lack of awareness and utilisation among farmers. Additionally, there is often a disconnect between the innovative AgriSolar solutions available and the actual needs of farmers,” Nabossa said.

Zaake training Luwero farmers on AgriSolar solutions last week. Innovation Village aims at bridging the information gap between technology solutions and on-the-ground agricultural needs. Photo by Simon Okitela

The engagement also aimed to facilitate direct interaction between solar technology innovators and farmers, deepening the innovators’ understanding of the real challenges farmers face in adopting solar technology.

This interaction fosters a sense of collaboration and opportunities for customised solutions, allowing innovators to refine technologies based on direct user feedback, and implements a follow-up plan for ongoing communication.

“Innovation Village believes that by bringing these stakeholders together, we can bridge the information gap between technology solutions and on-the-ground agricultural needs. This will foster collaboration and innovation in integrating solar technologies into farming practices and also demystify the myth that solar is expensive,” Nabossa added.

Innovation

Paul Zaake, the founder of Agri Share Uganda and participant in the AgriSolar accelerator programme, highlighted the massive impact of climate change on farmers.

“Through AgriShare, an innovative application-based platform, we connect farmers to a vast database of agricultural machinery, equipment and resources. Farmers can hire irrigation and processing equipment, land, farm workers and tractors. All this is aimed at making farming more productive,” Zaake said.

‘‘Through AgriShare, farmers can hire solar-powered irrigation pumps for about sh30,000 per day. This is more affordable compared to buying upfront at sh3m plus other annual maintenance costs. This hiring model enables farmers to only pay for the few times they need to use the equipment, eliminating the high purchase and maintenance costs,” Zaake said.

‘‘Through this approach, farmers can affordably irrigate crops, especially at critical stages, without the need to invest in purchasing the irrigation systems,” he added.

Edward Ceasar, a tomato farmer in Luwero district and beneficiary of AgriShare Uganda, shared his experience.

“The irrigation pumps hired out by AgriShare have increased my productivity and efficiency. What used to take me over four to five hours with a watering can, I can now do in less than an hour with the irrigation pumps. The challenge though is the cost of hiring the irrigation pumps, which farmers cannot afford.”

About agrisolar programme

The AgriSolar Product Accelerate programme is an initiative run by Innovation Village in collaboration with the MoTT Foundation.

The programme offers a product development and refinement journey designed to provide solutions and incorporate solar technologies across the agriculture value chain of dairy, aquaculture and horticulture.

LEAD PHOTO CAPTION: An instructor showing farmers how to use solar equipment during the meeting at Luwero district local government headquarters.

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