Promoting Solar Irrigation Pumping System, Mini-grid, and Ecosystem Services for improved Climate Smart Agriculture in Ethiopia Project Launching Workshop

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) Ethiopia office organized a one-day launching workshop for the project entitled “Promoting Solar Irrigation Pumping System, Mini-grid, and Ecosystems Services for improved Climate-Smart Agriculture in Ethiopia.”  The workshop took place on June 18, 2021, at Pyramid hotel Bishoftu, Ethiopia.

GGGI’s program on promoting solar irrigation pumping systems and mini-grids is designed to accelerate the deployment of solar irrigation solutions contributing towards climate-smart agriculture practices. In Ethiopia, energy access has always been an issue hindering economic development. Though some reasonable progress has been made in urban and peri-urban areas, the pace of rural electrification lags substantially behind the national average. Given the importance of electricity access for reducing extreme poverty for both urban and rural populations and fostering opportunities for productive economic activities including agriculture, upscaling access to modern energy is a significant component in the country’s long-term economic development plans.

GGGI’s support for solar irrigation in Ethiopia has a target to irrigate approximately 100,000 ha of land and benefiting approximately 50,000 households from direct and indirect investments and green job opportunities. GGGI will also support the Government of Ethiopia to meet its energy access targets especially in remote areas through mini-grid interventions. The mini-grids intervention aims to create enabling business environment for this technology solution and demonstrating commercial viability in partnership with other development partners. These efforts will contribute to government’s efforts towards transforming the national/subnational energy systems and integrating a significant increase of Renewable Energy (RE) in the energy mix. Besides, it also helps government’s target of reducing GHG emission levels projected for 2030.

With this background and objective, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) Ethiopia office launched this project and updated key stakeholders on the objective, scope, outcome, main components, impacts and expected engagement of the stakeholders for successful completion of the project. The workshop brought together experts from Ministry of water, Irrigation and Energy; Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Finance; Environment Forest and Climate Change Commission; the Regional Bureau of Water and Energy Resource Development; the Regional Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resource; and the International Water Management Institute. A total of 26 participants attended the launching workshop.

The workshop commenced with an opening remark by Dr. Gemedo Dalle, GGGI country representative for Ethiopia. In his opening remark, Dr. Gemedo introduced GGGI and highlighted the importance of the launching workshop for the success of the project. The objective, scope, outcome, major components, and expected engagement of the stakeholders was then presented by Ibsa Melkamu, Senior Energy Officer at GGGI Ethiopia. Current projects on solar irrigation system and how to successfully enhance the project in our country was presented by Dr. Amare Haileslassie, IWMI Principal Researcher. The presentation also focused on solar technology for different application (mini-grid and irrigation) and ecosystem services for improved climate-smart agriculture.

Following the presentations, a discussion was held to address questions and comments raised by the participants. The discussion focused on the timeline of the project, the methodology and scope of the work, the effectiveness of the technology; how to develop the capacity of regional bureaus, private sector and farmers, implementation of the project after completing the detailed feasibility study and other issues concerning the components of the project.

Finally, participants were grouped into three (Group1: Solar irrigation pumping system, Group 2: Solar mini-grid system and Group 3: Ecosystem services for improved climate-smart agriculture) and discussed on guiding questions developed for each component. Each group presented on their agreed responses to those questions and GGGI Ethiopia will use those inputs for the effective implementation of the project.

The workshop was concluded with the participants expressing their commitment to actively participate in the project through supporting the site selection process, feasibility study of the solar irrigation system and mini-grid system and implementation of activities under the ecosystem system service activities.