22 May 2019

Sudan: Project for Solar-Powered Irrigation in River Nile State Launched in Sudan

River Nile State — Sudan's Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the Ministry of Water Resources Irrigation and Electricity, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sudan signed an agreement on Tuesday to implement a project on solar water pumps for sustainable agriculture in the country.

The project, in partnership with the UNDP and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), aims to promote renewable energy and sustainable financial models as a gateway to improving farmers' livelihoods and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The agreement was signed by the undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Abdelmoneim Eltayib and the resident representative of UNDP in Sudan, Dr Selva Ramachandran.

$6.4 million

According to a joint press statement yesterday, the KOICA will contribute $6.4 million while UNDP will contribute $0.6 million to finance the project over the next five years (2019-2023). The project endeavours to directly benefit 450 small and medium landholding farmers in all six localities of River Nile state in northern Sudan, including women farmers.

"This generous contribution will enable UNDP and Sudan's Ministry of Water Resources Irrigation and Electricity to build on the foundational achievements made by the pilot project in the Northern State from 2016 to 2019, which saw the installment of water pumping systems powered by 257.405 kw of solar energy in 29 demonstration farms across seven localities. The pilot project also created the innovative National Solar Fund (PV Fund) in collaboration with Central Bank of Sudan and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning," the statement reads.

The project aims to develop and accelerate the adoption of off-grid solar pumping for irrigation by providing demonstration units, technical capacity building, a quality-assurance mechanism, and a financing mechanism. It will expand the use of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems in the River Nile state to replace the diesel-based irrigation water pumps through a programme of PV pump installation.

Efficiency of water use

This installation in farmlands will be fostered by a financing mechanism under the National PV fund, which aims to remove the barriers of large capital required for solar energy system installation. Furthermore, the project will build the technical know-how on climate-adaptive agronomic practices and increase efficiency of water use in order to ensure the overall sustainability of water pumping practices as part of an overall drive towards effective and efficient management of natural resources (water, soil and crops).

The project's final goal is to advocate the replication of its practices in other states through creation of enabling environment to integrate solar water pumping for irrigated agriculture in Sudan.

"The project plays a catalytic role in promoting renewable energy use in the country and will be a transformational vehicle in scaling up adoption of solar energy for agricultural productivity through the development of new markets and business linkages between farmers, financial institutions and private sector", said Dr Ramachandran. "We greatly appreciate the generous support of KOICA in this partnership," he added.

Renewable energy

The UNDP and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) signed an agreement on April 4 to implement a project on "Promotion of renewable energy and sustainable financial modality as gateway to improve farmers' livelihoods and Green House Gas reduction" aimed at supporting sustainable agriculture for climate change affected communities in Sudan through the use of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology instead of diesel-based irrigation water pumps in farmlands.

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