Solar or diesel? Unlocking groundwater’s potential in sub-Saharan Africa
Solar-powered groundwater irrigation has numerous advantages over diesel in boosting the productivity and sustainability of agriculture, but variations in need, climate and market prices complicate the picture across sub-Saharan Africa.
Even though over half the population of sub-Saharan Africa is employed in agriculture, food security indicators in the region are declining, and the number of stunted children is on the rise. There is also continued absence of significant state effort to reverse decades of under-investment in agricultural research and development. In 2016/17, only a handful of countries in the region invested 1% or more of their agricultural GDP in agricultural research.
There is thus an urgent need for farmer-driven and private-sector solutions to accelerate agricultural development and counter the growing, adverse impacts on productivity of climate change, conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.