In the heart of the Bas-Mono region in southern Togo, a quiet revolution is taking place, powered by the sun. Thanks to an innovative solar irrigation scheme financed by the African Development Bank and the European Union, farmers like Hounlessondji Kpadonou and Dansou Kodjovi Zounbléo are witnessing a transformation in their agricultural practices and livelihoods.
Kpadonou, a retired welder turned farmer, has seen his farm flourish since he received a solar irrigation pump. This revolutionary technology, equipped with a sprinkler system, ensures optimal irrigation across his land, leading to abundant harvests of tomatoes, maize, carrots, cabbages, and beets.
“This ingenious technology is far better than the system of pipes I was using previously,” Kpadonou remarked, his face lit with delight. The solar pump not only irrigates his fields but also provides water to his household, fostering sustainability and productivity.
Zounbléo, a former mechanic, ventured into agriculture almost two decades ago.
With the introduction of the solar irrigation pump, he efficiently irrigates his fields, meeting the growing demand for fresh produce in his village and the capital city, Lomé. His success story doesn’t end there; his increased harvests have led to job creation, providing young people in his village with stable livelihoods.
These farmers are among the 100 beneficiaries of the Project to Support the Social Component of Togo’s Rural Electrification Programme, an initiative promoting solar energy in rural areas through off-grid solutions. This project, funded jointly by the African Development Bank and the European Union with $11.68 million, has made a significant impact in approximately 500 rural areas across Togo.
By mid-September 2023, the project had installed 122 solar water heaters in health centers and provided electricity to 87 peripheral care units. Additionally, 153 immersion and surface pumps have been deployed on farms, empowering farmers to efficiently irrigate their fields and enhance their productivity.
The initiative aligns with the African Development Bank’s strategic priorities of “Light Up and Power Africa” and “Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.” The solar irrigation scheme has not only improved energy access to households but has also revitalised community amenities and small farms, fostering economic growth and environmental sustainability.
“This project has been a real turning point for me. It has transformed my farm into a model of efficiency and productivity thanks to solar energy,” Kpadonou emphasised. Indeed, this sustainable approach to farming ensures that nothing goes to waste on his farm; every resource is utilized, fostering a bright and prosperous future for the community.
As the solar-powered fields continue to yield abundant harvests and transform lives, Togo stands as a testament to the positive impact of renewable energy in shaping a sustainable future for its people.