UNDP and Ministry of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity Initiate Solar for Agriculture in Northern State

 

Northern State, Sudan, 26 November 2018 -  UNDP Country Director Dr. Selva Ramachandran accompanied by H.E. State Minister of the  Ministry of Water Resources Irrigation and Electricity Mr. Ibrahim Hamad Ali Eltom , State Minister of Ministry of Finance Dr. Mosllem Ahmed Alamir Ahmed , Undersecretary of Ministry of Water Resources Mr. Omar Elamin Osman in addition to high level members of  the Energy Standing Committee at the National Assembly , have visited yesterday UNDP’s Solar for Agriculture project in Dongola.

During their visit, the delegation have met with the Wali of Northern State Mr. Yasir Yousif and discussed ongoing progress of the project in the state in addition to meeting with a number of beneficiaries of the project during their site visit.

This solar water pumping project comes in line with UNDP’s support of the Sudan’s government priority to advance renewable energy in the country, and is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity.  The “Solar for Agriculture” project is a 5- year long project  (2016-2021), with a total budget of USD  4.89 Million granted by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

The project starts with pilot phase of installing 28 solar pumps with different sizes covering the 7 localities of the Northern State where the farmers cannot access the National Electrical Grid, the following phases will install  1,440 solar pumps across the state.

The main aim of the project is to help Sudanese farmers to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, decrease their cost of production, increase the sustainability of water use and subsequently increase their income.

Agriculture is a major driver of Sudan’s economy and this project will help increase Sudan’s energy security and decouple its GDP from fluctuations in fossil fuel prices and availability. Furthermore, the project plays a catalytic role in the transformational scaling up of solar power for productive use in Sudan’s agricultural sector.

Within its work on renewable energy, UNDP supports the development of on- and off-grid renewable energy technologies and delivery services. UNDP regards Solar energy as an engine for poverty reduction, social progress, equity, enhanced resilience, economic growth, and environmental sustainability.

Al-Tayeb Hammad, a 39 year old   small -scale farmer who benefited from the solar pump scheme for one year relayed his experience by saying “The installed solar pump has helped me to increase my farm from 6 to 10 feddans. Also, thanks to the solar pump, I now have summer crops. Lots of farmers come to see the pump every day  and they all want to register with project team.”

The installation of solar pumps has in addition to improving farmers life through increased agriculture productivity and earnings, is also contributing to climate change by reducing CO2 emissions. This project, once completed, is expected to produce a net reduction of 860,100 t-CO2, while saving a staggering 268,800 metric tonnes of diesel.

In order to scale up Solar for Agriculture, UNDP is providing resources and technical advice to the government to establish a National PV Fund in consultation with Ministry of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity. The PV fund’s initial phase aims to finance 400 solar pumps and to be scaled up further. The PV fund is now setting up appropriate guidelines to support two Presidential Initiatives: a) The Sudan Solar for Development and welfare Initiative b) Zero Thirsty Initiative.

It is expected that the project will contribute to transforming the energy sector in Sudan, resulting in energy stability, freeing farmers from dependence on fossil fuel and improving farmers’ livelihoods in Northern state, and beyond.

During the visit ,  H.E. State Minister of the Ministry of Water Resources Irrigation and Electricity Mr. Ibrahim Hamad Ali Eltom affirmed that “ This solar for agriculture initiative could not have come in a better time as we have just launched the  Sudan comprehensive renewable energy strategy  and we commend UNDP’s instrumental role in pushing forward the renewable energy agenda in Sudan.“

State Minister of the Ministry of Finance Dr. Mosllem Ahmed Alamir Ahmed further stated that the “The Government of Sudan is committed to expanding the application of solar energy in all sectors including agriculture , health , education and is willing to financially support the Solar for Agriculture initiative all across Sudan.”

For his part, UNDP Country Director Dr. Selva Ramachandran has commended the Government of Sudan for “ Its continued commitment to supporting renewable energy projects and its future plans to further  fund and scale up renewable energy projects  across Sudan.”  

Given that agriculture is a main component of the economy in Sudan, this project contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 on clean, affordable and reliable energy. This project will also facilitate sharing of good practices and lessons learnt among stakeholders to promote the use of solar pumps for irrigation throughout the country.

Globally, UNDP’s technical support in energy sector focuses on promoting actions towards low carbon pathways and addressing climate change related issues. In Sudan, UNDP’s development agenda focuses on building resilience for adaptation to climate change, addressing challenges related to the underutilization of Sudan’s renewable energy sources and building national and institutional capacities for better environmental management and climate change activities.

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For more information, please contact Ms. Yusra Salim, Communication Analyst, UNDP, yusra.salim@undp.org

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. 

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