In Malawi, agriculture is mostly rain-fed. This reliance on one growing season and erratic rainfall results in unreliable yields and quality of produce.

This is compounded by limited options for post-harvest storage due, in part, to low rural electrification rates, resulting in losses of at least 30% of produce.

The project seeks to address these challenges by demonstrating the viability of an off-grid full value chain business model for the benefit of women smallholder farmers. PAC (Practical Action Consulting), in partnership with African Mini Grids (“AMG”) and Modern Farming Technologies (“MFT”), plan to develop a sustainable, vertically integrated, full value chain business model for agriculture.

The approach includes two main components: support to women farmers in the form of capacity development and access to affordable greenhouses with solar drip irrigation systems; and the development of a solar powered chill plant that increases the quantity and quality of produce available to be sold and opens up access to formal markets. As well as increasing productivity and quality of produce, the project aims to empower women, assisting them overcome constraints to land access (because greenhouses require little land), gain access to productive assets and develop new skills and confidence.

Lastly, the project aims to use renewable energy to unlock new local markets for horticultural produce that provide rural communities with new opportunities for income and livelihoods. MFT have executed a similar model in the urban setting of Mzuzu, and now want to demonstrate it in an off-grid environment within rural Northern Malawi. They will work with the Ujazi Cultural Conservation Group, ad women’s co-operative located at Chintheche in Nhkata Bay District.

Boat on a river

Equatorial Power, Mobilizing Electricity for Productive End Uses and Fishermen eMobility in Lake Victoria

The project focuses on mobilizing electricity for productive use through the promotion of electric mobility for fishing in Lolwe Island of Lake Victoria. The plan is to pilot approximately 20 electric boats for fishing with charging hubs that will be connected to the solar mini-grid installed on the island.

The intended outcomes are

  1. Eliminating the use of petrol and reduced operating costs for fishing,
  2. Demonstrate a viable anchor load for the mini-grid on the island, and
  3. Creating local employment opportunities through a productive use charging hub on the island.

The expected impacts are

  1. Improving economic livelihoods among those who directly or indirectly depend upon fishing, through improved fishing value proposition and job creation.
  2. Strengthening the business case for a sustainable mini-grid in this community through increased productive energy uptake (and securing the indirect benefits of clean, reliable, and plentiful electricity),
  3. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the vital economic activity of fishing. 

Rural electrification programs are generally motivated by the effective and lasting impacts that they are expected to generate in the field. While there may be some natural trickle down effect from the massive investments required to reach high rates of rural electrification, spontaneous positive effects on social and economic development are generally limited by a number of local bottlenecks. 

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With the publication of this catalogue, the BMZ-funded GIZ sector program ‘Basic Energy Services (HER A)’ provides a market overview of DC-powered appliances, use-ful for developing and strengthening business activities in rural areas. This 1st Edition does not claim to provide a conclusive and comprehensive picture but rather to offer an overview of selected appliances available on the market today, complemented with elemental technical details, established distribution channels and, where possible, practical experiences from the field. The catalogue is directed at practitioners and public and private sector actors promotion

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The 2018 Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report is the fourth report in a biennial series established over the past 8 years as the report of record for the off-grid solar industry. The publication takes stock of the industry across six axes: market fundamentals, sales, the competitive landscape, finance, the enabling environment, and impact. 

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This report – sponsored by the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), a Clean Energy Ministerial initiative led by the U.S. Department of Energy – seeks to deepen our understanding of the current state of this burgeoning off-grid appliance market, explore key market trends and areas of future opportunity, and explore linkages and interdependencies with existing off-grid clean energy markets.

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This paper addresses the need for reliable energy access for businesses to enable the productive use of clean energies. In addition, the paper presents case studies from nine African countries to show promising ways to successfully engage in rural developing areas for entrepreneurs, NGOs, investors and policymakers. ARE believes that these examples can also be used as showcase examples in other parts of the developing world.

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