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AfDB approves US$21.783mn to scale up solar-powered irrigation in Sudan

The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) has approved a grant to the government of Sudan to accelerate the adoption of solar-powered irrigation pumps in the country’s West Kordofan and North Kordofan states

The project is expected to enable farmers’ adoption of renewable energy technology through the installation of 1,170 photovoltaic (PV) irrigation pumps, the establishment of maintenance and repair workshops for the pumps and the supply of equipment for a pump testing laboratory to provide certification and training.

Agriculture is an important economic sector in Sudan. In 2016, around 40 per cent of the country’s GDP came from farming. As a result of the expected phasing out of diesel-fueled pumps, participating farmers will realise cost savings from no longer needing to purchase diesel, which is scarce in rural areas.

The solar-powered irrigation pumps aim to increase productivity and lower pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

Paul Baldeh, AfDB’s director for power systems development, noted, “By extending farmers a grant covering 75 per cent of installation costs, the government, with Bank support, will overcome the most significant hurdle of adopting clean PV technology: high upfront costs.”

The remaining 25 per cent will be payable in instalments over three years. He added that the project will conduct a groundwater survey and sustainability assessment that will inform the development of subsequent projects in Sudan.

The project meets the Sudanese government’s renewable energy and poverty reduction objectives as well as the Bank’s High Five and Energy Sector Policy. Moreover, the project has a strong potential to be replicated and scaled up in other parts of the country.