Solar-powered irrigation future for arid region farmers?
09 Jul 2018

Although most climate research provides cautious commentary to our preferred mode of development, is it wise to stray off the beaten path – can developing countries afford sustainable solutions and maintain economic growth? The decision to agree on mutually approved benchmarks of global emissions cannot be separated from the discourse of development that the South Asian region is pursuing. It is challenging for the region to act upon empirical evidence, and adhere to the tightrope of sustainable development, as many put industrial and mechanical advancements at the forefront of their development portfolio.

For the time being, perhaps truly sustainable solutions are a tough sell for these countries. However, scalable technological solutions developed through a combination of science and community based research have a potential of being replicated at the community level. Customized solar pumping system for small farmers including mobile based solar powered pump piloted at the HI-AWARE site in Chakri, Pakistan, may provide hope to small scale farmers.

Following news reports of the intervention in national media outlets in Pakistan, it caught the attention of KfW, a German government owned development bank based in Frankfurt. KfW Senior Project Manager Christiane Schmidt visited the  where she was briefed about the solar pumping applications including portable solar pumping system. A brief description of the pilot’s working principles and up-scaling were also given. It is hoped that through such hybrid partnerships with public sector players, these technological interventions can be made widely available to affected communities.

The KfW group’s commitment to development in Pakistan lies in sectors such as renewable energies. KfW’s presence in Pakistan has existed since the early 2000s with its most recent contributions to the energy sector being in increasing the capacity of existing power stations in Muzzafargarh, Pakistan.