Enhancing the role of Solar Irrigation for Poverty Reduction Near Mt. Kilimanjaro

Years: 2021 - 2022

The project for enhancing the role of solar irrigation for poverty reduction is aiming at enhancing the adoption of solar-powered irrigation technology by the smallholder farmers in the three target project areas, leading to improved and diversified food production, enhanced climate resilience and overall social well-being, enhanced environmental conservation and climate change resilience.  

Due to climate change water stresses in most tanzania communities increased. Research show that the effect of severe droughts in Hai District impact agriculture production and food security significantly.Traditionally for irrigation water from river diversions or natural springs were used. This secured the food security and income to the majority of farmers in Hai District. However, the situation has changed in recent year so farmers are no longer able to rely on traditional irrigation techniques.  Due to the change of rainfall patterns streams and rivers does not flow anymore predictable continuously throughout the year.This project addresses theirfore the need for a sustainable all-year-round irrigation. The project is implemented in the three villages of Ngosero, Kilima Mbogo and Mkombozi which are located in the dry lowland plains of the southern part of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Hydrogeological studies, conducted in the initial phase of the project showed that enough groundwater is accessible by drilling boreholes to set-up solar-power irrigation schemes.

To ensure the sustainability of the project farmers are trained in climate smart farming and agribusiness.By this approach farmes build the capacity to utilize the solar irrigation to change their farming from rain-fed to all-year-round and using the surplus of the harvest to finance maintenance cost and reduce poverty. Based on these interventions with an holistic human-centered and participatory approach, it is expected that smallholders in will get resilient and capable of coping with present and projected shocks from climate change.

Funded by the Germany Government through the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), this 2-year project aims at enabling the poor, marginalized and vulnerable smallholder farmers in three villages (Ngosero, Kilima Mbogo, and Mkombozi) located in the dry lowland plains of the southern part of Mt. Kilimanjaro to overcome the pervasive challenges of poverty, food insecurity. It also seeks to address gender inequality and water use conflicts caused by lack of access to reliable and affordable water supply for irrigation purposes as compounded by the growing impacts of climate change.

In this regard, 2021 was the first year of implementation for this project. Accordingly, the project team worked diligently to initiate the various project activities in line with the project design and respective work plan. Key activities implemented and achievements are presented below:

i. Project launch: Project was successfully launched in February 2021 marking official commencement of implementation. This intervention involved mobilization of all key stakeholders to ensure their buy-in and ownership. This phase also involved confirmation of project management committees namely Project Steering Committee and Project Implementation Committee as well as validation of farmers and water user groups.

ii.    Baseline studies: These studies were conducted between February and May 2021 in order to establish accurate benchmarks against which to measure progress. The studies also helped to understand key gaps, needs, and entry points (opportunities) for enhancing the implementation of the project. Specifically, the studies include socio-economic survey, Environmental impact Assessment and hydrogeological survey.

iii.   Drilling of boreholes: This important component of the project commenced in October 2021 after completion of hydrogeological studies and securing the drilling permits from the respective Pangani Basin Water Board. By end of December 2021, drilling of two of the three boreholes was completed in two villages of Mkombozi and Kilimambogo, pending installation of solar powered water pumps to pump water for irrigation.

iv.   Training of communities on agronomy and climate smart agriculture. In preparation for irrigation, the initial training to orient and sensitize communities

On this basis the next steps include installation of solar power system to operationalized boreholes, establishment Farmers Field Schools (FFS) to facilitate demonstrations on Climate Smart Agriculture using modern irrigation practices for enhanced productivity and security of livelihood. Other activities will include advanced training to small-holder farmers on Business Development Services and entrepreneurship.

Project Impact

What this project will achieve
Improved and diversified food production systems for over 6000 smallholder farmers due to adoption of climate smart agricultural techniques
Improved incomes for over 6000 smallholder farmers through reduced cost of production due to adoption of reliable and affordable solar powered irrigation systems and sale of surplus harvests as well as increased access to markets and credits from the established local financial schemes (VICOBA) and training programs on agribusiness and financial management skills
Enhanced food security and nutritional status of about 6000 community members in the project area through availability of various food products in sufficient qualities and quantities including fruits and vegetables throughout the year.
Enhanced climate resilience and overall social well-being of over 6000 community members. The projects areas through improved food production, enhanced food and nutritional security and increased incomes shall lead to livelihood diversification and reinvestment of gained revenue into other livelihood supporting services such health care, education and other off -farm enterprises.
Enhanced climate change mitigation and adaptation. Currently some smallholder farmers use fossil fuel powered generators to irrigate their farms leading to increased emission of GHG particularly CO2. Adaptation of solar irrigation will mitigate the THG-emissions.
Solar powered irrigation technology adopted on 2,400 acres of land in the project villages, directly benefiting over 1200 households and over 6000 smallholder farmers most of them women and youth. Currently, solar powered irrigation technology is not being used in the project area due to financial barriers

CAN on the field

Field photographs and videos

Drilling of a new Borehole in Mkombozi Village, Hai District. A milestone towards all-year-round irrgation instead of rainfed irrigation.

Workshop on Climate Smart Farming: A Group of women identifying disasters affecting agricultural production and possible solutions in Hai District. Knowing the risks and effects enable to act and adapt to changing weather patterns

Finding Challenges and Solution: Local farmers in Hai District got empowered to identify and adapt to the impact of Climate Change by building capacity to make smart decisions on farming and livlihood activties.

It takes a village to raise a child & it takes a team to drill a borehole We are proud to work together to increase the local climate reslience of communities in Hai District.

Project Publications

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