“Solar Technologies in Agriculture” project in Mali: support from Indosuez Foundation

Projet TSA Mali

According to UN estimates, 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity. One of the missions of Antenna Foundation is to reduce energy poverty by facilitating access to innovative and affordable renewable energy solutions.

In the agricultural sector, the dependence of technologies on fossil fuels on the one hand negatively impacts health and the environment, and on the other hand makes them expensive to use and repair. Although still marginal in Africa, renewable energies are an efficient alternative to the dependency on fossil fuels and a compensation for the lack of access to the electricity network. Solar energy in particular represents a healthy energy source and a more transparent and advantageous financial burden in the long term, which sustainably improves farmers’ productivity and income.

The objective of the Solar Technologies in Agriculture (STA) project is to improve the energy and economic autonomy of 3,700 rural farmers and 35 farmers’ cooperatives in Mali by 2024. The technology needs expressed by the farmers’ cooperatives are mainly focused on production (pumps), processing (mills) and conservation (refrigerators) of crops. In close collaboration with providers, we identify solar technologies that are adapted to their activities. On the ground, the sale and distribution of the technologies is managed by our partner, the social enterprise EcoTech Mali (ETM).

The technological innovation of this project lies in a device integrated into the technologies called “Pay-as-you-go”. This device allows for sales in instalments (similar to leasing) and for the distribution of maintenance costs of the technologies if they are too high for cash payment.

The economic innovation lies in the technology distribution model. It is based on a microfinance approach and on the cooperatives and farmers taking responsibility for the repayment of the technologies. This is done in cooperation with our distributing partner. In this way the technologies are made more accessible to farmers while supporting a local company.

Antenna’s activities for the STA project in Mali are, among others, supported by the Indosuez Foundation, which finances the supply of 7 mills and 10 solar pumps.

By the end of the project, 35 cooperatives, associations and villages with an average of 100 members will be impacted by the dissemination of solar agricultural technologies. 3’700 farmers and rural families will benefit from the income generated by the technologies for 5 to 10 years.

If you wish to support this or any other of Antenna’s projects, you can contact Candice Turquet at +41 (0)22 737 12 43 or by email at candice.turquet@antenna.ch.

Image : Installation and testing of Ennos 0.5 HP solar pump, 12 January 2023 in Dinamarka (Koulikoro-Bamako region)