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African Agricultural Sector Is Sunnier Because Of Solar-Powered Pumps

By Ken Silverstein, Forbes Magazine When most people think of solar power, they think of solar panels placed on rooftops to create electricity for residential or commercial use. But there is also another critical purpose — to mine and distribute water to boost productivity.  It’s especially relevant in Africa, where agriculture is the main industry for most countries there. Yet, their output is suffering because because the fields do not get the proper amount of irrigation. Through the use of solar pumps, though, they are able to double or triple their yields — economic gains that have an enormous ripple effect while improving the lifestyles of many Africans.  “Farmers who were growing one season per year can now grow three times per year,” says Yariv Cohen, the founder and chief executive officer of Ignite Power, which is a British-American company, in an interview. “Solar pumps lead to more efficiencies, which leads to more employment and greater disposable income. Disposable income increases by 20% to 30%.” 

Simply, water is an essential element of life, especially clean water. And while the developed world may take this for granted, the emerging economies understand implicitly the value of this commodity. Solar pumps are an ecologically viable option to extract water and to irrigate crops and provide potable drinking water.  (...) “The solar pumps enable local farmers to utilize Africa’s most accessible resource, the sun, in order to get their lands irrigated,” he adds. “The pump runs on solar power, perfectly fit the needs of rural farmers who live far away from the grid. Using this power, the pump allows a large area to be irrigated regularly, dramatically improving the yield in the most affordable way possible.”  Read the complete article on Forbes website

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