Solar Irrigation: Towards Reducing Cost of Production – Epe Agribusiness Cluster Adopting Innovation

Solar Irrigation: Towards Reducing Cost of Production – Epe Agribusiness Cluster Adopting Innovation

Use of Irrigation has been the major alternative means of providing crops with water in the absence of rainfall. However, the cost of powering irrigation equipment and engines which is mostly by fuel. The cost of fuel in Nigeria is rising everyday and the problem of scarcity as been a major challenge leading to high cost of production, thereby the need for an alternative source of power  is important than ever.

Eweko Concept is an agribusiness firm engaged in food production and provision of services in the agribusiness space with focus on smallholder farmers. Agricultural value chain development with support services that promotes inclusive business and improve the livelihoods, particularly within the rural areas.

IrriTech Nigeria Limited provides life transforming Technologies foe smallholder farmers, by providing them with low cost highly efficient, Micro – Irrigation systems and agricultural training and Consultancy services.

Farmers have always played a significant role in our society as they provide the world’s population with food. However, one may forget that, not only do they provide food but they also provide energy, which nowadays, is of paramount importance, especially as in light of renewable energies. Indeed, farmers can produce energy from the wind, the sun or the biomass and they can use it for their own farm, or, if they have a surplus, resell it to companies.

Solar energy might be one of the easiest ways for farmers to produce energy. Indeed, farmers usually have several large buildings whose roofs are directly under the sun, without being hindered by the shadows of the trees, turning them into an ideal place to settle a photovoltaic system. Therefore, the use of solar energy in agriculture is becoming increasingly popular and the energy produced from this renewable source can be used either on the farm or in the local power grid, providing the farmer with an additional income. 

One of the areas in agriculture that benefits the most from solar energy is irrigation, especially in arid regions. The main reason is that using the sun for irrigation represents a virtuous circle: when the sun shines, it feeds the irrigation system, well, we know that crops needs more water when the sun shines a lot. Therefore, a large quantity of energy is available when it is actually needed.

At Eweko Concept as indicated in some of the services we provide, we create an enabling environment for the adoption of technologies and innovations that improves productivity within the value chains, leveraging on grass root experiences and established relationships within the various communities. Deploying tools and methods in creating efficient and sustainable relationships between relevant value chain actors is one of the core competences that we leverage in for building business relationship. These has been proven many times to partners, stakeholders and farmers. Another, one is this relationship facilitated between the Solar Irrigation Company and Epe Agribusiness Cluster.

Components of The Solar System

Component of the Solar System kit Includes:

  • DC Submersible Solar Pump (96v, 1.2”, 3m3/h)
  • 4 (250W) Pv Panels
  • MPPT TRACKER + charge Controller
  • Installation Reducers and Joiners

How it works

The panels draw energy from the sun and sends this energy to the MPPT which normalize the available energy to be sufficient for the pump. The pump utilize the power, pull water from your water source into the reservoir or irrigation system.

Advantages of Adopting this innovation

The advantage of solar irrigation are numerous among are:

  1. Solar power is pollution free and causes no greenhouse gases to be emitted after installation
  2. Reduced dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels
  3. Renewable clean power that is available every day of the year, even cloudy days produce some power
  4. Return on investment unlike paying for utility bills
  5. Virtually little or no maintenance as solar panels can last longer
  6. Creates jobs by employing solar panel manufacturers, solar installers, etc. and in turn helps the economy
  7. Can be installed virtually anywhere; in a field to on a building
  8. Use batteries to store extra power for use at night
  9. Safer than traditional electric current
  10. Efficiency is always improving so the same size solar that is available today will become more efficient tomorrow
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Inclusive Agribusiness: Why we need to work together!

Inclusive Agribusiness: Why we need to work together!

 “There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.”

― Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability

This quote resonates in the agribusiness space as various interests come to play in having constant supply of food on the table. From the Farmers right to the consumer, there are various actors within the value chain of each commodity and the synergy between these various linkages is very key for sustainability. So how do we achieve this simple but yet complex inter and intra relationships.

Businesses today are moving from the traditional capitalist approach to a more social oriented approach. To operate businesses in most countries, laws are enforced to ensure corporate social responsibilities by such organizations. The very core of Eweko concept is centered on Inclusive business; bringing in the different stakeholders within the fruits and vegetable value chain to achieve seamless integration flow of processes for continuous business operation.

“An inclusive business is a sustainable business that benefits low-income communities. It is a business initiative that, keeping its for-profit nature, contributes to poverty reduction through the inclusion of low-income communities in its value chain. In simple words, inclusive business is all about including the poor in the business process be it as producers, entrepreneurs or consumers.”

The 2SCALE project has facilitated the formation of a cluster in Epe, around a commodity (chili pepper), to leverage on the strength of the different stakeholders identified within the value chain.

The ultimate goal of the cluster formation was to increase productivity and subsequently improve the livelihood within the communities and far beyond. The cluster has been able to reduced cost of production and increase competitiveness through

  • Bulk purchasing
  • Bulk transportation
  • Capacity building
  • Better bargaining power
  • Collective resolution of challenges
  • Access to structured markets
  • Adopting market2farm approach

So meet me, on the next blog post to read more on how the Epe Agribusiness cluster, eweko concept and the 2SCALE project engaged different stakeholders in their quest for inclusive agribusiness.

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Building Integrated Business Support Services

The role of advisors in agribusiness is ever changing. Whereas conventional advisors mainly work with farmers, 2SCALE turned these intermediaries into coaches of local business partnerships in a particular value chain. As this shift showed impressive results, such as the embedding of support costs within the value chain, 2SCALE explains the approach of its service delivery model and lessons learned in its second thematic paper “Strengthening business support services for agribusiness partnerships”.

Support services within agribusiness clusters

In 2SCALE, the role and terms of reference of agribusiness advisors moved from being mostly technical advisors for farmers to facilitators and on-the-job coaches of local business actor networks formed as partnerships around a producer organizations: the agribusiness clusters (ABCs).

One of the main tasks of the coaches is to coordinate the actions within the ABC. The coaches herein support the identification of factors that hinder the development of the business actors and come up with innovative alternatives and opportunities that can shake ABC actors out of their old habits and ways of working. The coaches, who in turn are trained and coached by 2SCALE, link value chain partners, like lead (aggregating/processing) firms, producer organisations (POs), traders and agro-input dealers, to each other but also involve other supporting actors, such as banks, insurance companies, transporters, etc. in the ABC

These local linkages usually do not emerge spontaneously because of factors such as fierce competition and distrust. As such, the coaches facilitate on-going cooperation and safeguard the continuous improvement of the functioning of the ABC and the value chain as a whole.

In addition, just like most advisors, they also provide training in technical matters, like good agricultural practices, use of new agro-inputs or mechanisation techniques, etc. However, these technical skills do not by itself result into wide adoption and better business. Therefore, above all, the coaches focus on business matters and strengthening functional capacities, such as how to analyse production costs, identify options for cost reduction and efficiency, develop production, marketing and business plans, build good business relations, negotiate with other players or set-up legal contracts.

Capacitating agribusiness cluster coaches
This multi-faceted work requires coaches to have a comprehensive combination of skills, competences and appropriate mindset.  2SCALE therefore developed a capacity strengthening model in which local-level ABC coaches are trained and mentored by professional agribusiness trainers. These trainers provide hands-on mentoring and on-the-job support as the coaches facilitate their field coaching sessions to ABC actors.

2SCALE’s second thematic paper “Strengthening business support services for agribusiness partnerships” discusses this service delivery model, its methodology and its outcomes, illustrated in 10 field stories. It also distills 9 key lessons learned during 5 years of 2SCALE, of which one of the most promising is the embedding of shared costs of this type of business support services within the value chain.

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Eweko Concept and the 2SCALE Project

Eweko Concept and the 2SCALE Project

As a farmer , I have had the first hand experience of what farmers face on the field; striving to produce food amidst the infrastructural deficiencies and lack of structured and target support systems that are needed in sustaining food production in Nigeria and indeed Africa. Africa  plays  a major role in the global fight against food insecurity and little wonder why there is so much focus in developing the continent as it has about 60% of the world’s arable land.

The very core of Eweko concept is built on sustainability; meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generation in meeting their own needs. It is therefore imperatives for the present generation of farmers (old and new) to be more productive without compromising quality . The solutions are multilayered but with the very base centered on building the capacity of farmers, particularly small holder farmers.

Over 80% small holder farmers provide over 90% of the farm produce in Nigeria using crude and very unproductive methods. It makes “common sense” that the most impact will be felt, if the productivity of the small holder farmer is increased. It’s a social course!

Eweko concept, through her network partnered with the 2SCALE project providing business support services to small holder farmers using inclusive business approaches to improve their livelihoods especially in the rural areas.


2SCALE is one of the largest incubators of inclusive agribusiness in Africa. We aim to deepen and scale over 50 public-private partnerships in selected high-potential product groups in nine focus countries in Africa, offering significant and durable opportunity to at least 500,000 smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods and to at least2,500 SMEs to improve sales and provide jobs, while sustainably supplying food to regional, national and local markets, of which 40% will be BoP consumers.

I will be unleashing the various concepts, activities, challenges, opportunities ………along the way! See you at the next blogpost(Inclusive agribusiness)[

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