No fewer than 2100 smallholder farmers were empowered with Solar Renting Pumps and mobile subscription-based rental services in Jama’are, Gadau, and Zaki environs in Bauchi State by Energy Assured in a bid to ease their work and reduce expenses as well as other logistical services to help them modernize their profession.
The project, according to a statement signed by the Organization’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Ibrahim Aboki and issued to Newsmen on Wednesday said is part of USAID’s $4 million intervention on its COVID-19 food security challenge, where 32 Nigerian grantees get funding to assist in the improvement of the country’s agricultural system to a better and modernize the system where Energy Assured as one of the sub-grantees flags off the program in Bauchi State.
The statement revealed that the project has six major aims as follows:
“Increase food and agriculture system productivity and enhance efficient production along the value chains to unlock agricultural production that has been limited by COVID-19’s impact on food production, processing, and distribution in Nigeria”.
“Increase income for Base of the Pyramid (BoP) women and men in both rural and urban areas”.
“Provide youth-led and mid-stage companies the technical assistance and capital they need to sustainably scale solutions to meet the requirements of the Challenge”.
“Promote climate and environmental resilience as well as biodiversity through the sustainable, holistic management of natural resources and ecosystems”.
“Develop and promote innovative and local food-based models, including the local production, processing, and marketing of highly nutritious foods to prevent and/or treat wasting/acute malnutrition”.
“Promote socially responsible marketing/advertising to increase demand for safe, nutritious foods and other nutrition-related commodities and services”.
The statement further said that “part of the project, Energy Assured carried out a preliminary survey to understand the farmer’s perception on water sources, paid advocacy visits to farmers cooperatives; state and local governments agricultural agencies, performed a roadshow (demonstration) for 2100 smallholder farmers to see how real the solar system works, conducted radio campaigns on environmentally sustainable practices, training of 150 smallholder farmers in good agronomy practices, procured 45 solar pumps and rental services of pumps for 2100 smallholder farmers.
The statement called on Bauchi State Government to direct the state’s ministry of agriculture to engage the empowered smallholder farmers in the state and help them in sustaining the initiative.
Some of the recommendations made by the organization includes:
“Other renewable energy stakeholders in the country should give out solar pumps as a loan to be repaid through flexible payment options for smallholder farmers for them to benefit from the initiative”.
“USAID should, as part of scale up strategy, connect all the grantees with other investors to ensure sustainability of the project”.
“Considering the high demand of the solar pump from smallholder farmers, we recommend other social enterprises/start-ups to also venture into this business model, so that the high demand will reduce”.
“There is need for more intervention into this, specifically sourcing of reliable and affordable water and good agronomy practices to assist smallholder farmers to get improved and cultivate according to modern ways”.
“Awareness campaigns on the use of modern technology especially this model should be intensified by the state government and other relevant organisations working in the area of agricultural value chain”.