Total savings :This project will not CDM or Gold Standard-certified.
Technology transfer :solar-powered water pumping system in combination with efficient drip irrigation system
Local environment :Economical use of water resources
Further advantages :Securing agricultural yields; enabling women to grow food commercially and reducing dependence on rainfall; strengthening climate resilience
Project partners :Solarquest Ltd., Women for Change, Zambian Ministry of Agriculture

A solar-powered drip irrigation system makes commercial and climate-friendly food production possible for smallholder farmers in rural Zambia

Since spring 2020 a women’s collective of 20 small farmers in the Rufunsa district in the province of Lusaka is irrigating its 5 hectares of farmland with a solar-powered drip irrigation system thanks to the support of atmosfair.

Over 80 percent of the rural population in Zambia depend on agriculture for their livelihood. The people in Zambia have so far been practicing agriculture mainly to cover their own needs. In order to realize the country’s long-term vision of becoming a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030, a first important step is to increase farmers yields so that they can not only grow crops for their own needs but can sell their products and generate income. The conditions for commercial agriculture are suitable in Zambia, as the country has immense natural resources like land, water and fertile soil. However, the rainy season is only short. Irrigation is therefore of central importance for increasing agricultural yields for smallholder farmers.

Many smallholder farmers in Zambia cannot afford irrigation at all and their livelihoods are threatened by increasing drought periods. Farmers who use irrigation usually depend on diesel-powered groundwater pumps, which channel the water to the fields. This method is inefficient and consumes too much water as large amounts of water evaporate. Diesel-powered groundwater pumps also harm the climate. Drip irrigation is the most efficient method of irrigation because the water is applied precisely to the plants through a tube with outlets. Only little amounts of water evaporate. By operating with a 12 kWp PV-solar system, this irrigation technology is also climate friendly. With an installed capacity of 4kWp, the system’s pump gets 7000 liters of water per hour to the surface.

Thanks to the irrigation system, the women of the collective become independent of rainfall cultivation and drought periods that threaten their existence. Moreover, the collective can grow crops all year round, even during the dry season. Thus, the crop yield is increased. Climate resistance, year-round cultivation and an expanded product variety now offer a perspective for the women and their families as well as for future generations.

atmosfair covered about 70% of the total project costs for technology, transport and installation of the system as well as for plant seeds.

Our partners

Our implementation partner is the company Solarquest (Pvt) Ltd. from Lusaka/ Zambia, an experienced project developer and plant manufacturer for irrigation systems. Solarquest participated in the financing of the solar irrigation system and is now responsible for its operation and maintenance. Other project partners are Women for Change, an NGO from Zambia, which conducts trainings for the women’s collective, and the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture, which offers agricultural courses for the women of the collective.

Your contact at atmosfair

Kevin Möller
Senior Project Developer
Commercial Lawyer, M.A. Philosophy
+49 (0) 30 120 84 80 – 64