From sunlight to harvest: Solar energy brings hopes to farmers in Iringa

Iringa. For decades, farmers in Lupembe Lwa Senga village in Iringa region had relied on the traditional farming system for their livelihoods. Apart from using hand hoes, animal plows, they would wait for the rain to irrigate their crops.  


For small plots like gardens, they would use buckets or recently fuel-powered water pumps for irrigation. 


“We started irrigation farming as a group in1999, by that time we were using a fuel-powered pump with the cost of 200,000 for buying petrol to irrigate all five acres a day, it was terrible,” Gabriel Mmewa, farmer in Lupembe Lwa Senga said. .


With outdated oil pump machines driving the irrigation process, he said the cost of production soared, leaving the farmers trapped in a cycle of diminishing returns.


However, as the demands of a growing population and the uncertainties of rains, the need for innovation became apparent.