Solar Power Improves Farming and the Lives of Farmers

Credit: World Bank.

Farmer’s lives have been improving with the increase in the efficiency, and even automation, in the domains of agriculture and farming. The World Economic (WEF) reported on the changing trends in the energy systems of the world of farming.

The author of the article, Mehrin Mahbub, described making a trip into the north of Bangladesh: “a young man working in a rice field under the scotching sun caught my attention. Habibur, 28, looked content amidst the wide green vista of fields.”

The life of this 28-year-old farmer was hard due to family and finance struggles. As a rice farmer, a rice cultivator, Habibur purchased a cow and leased land for rice cultivation, which “is a common practice in rural Bangladesh.”

With the rural Bangladeshi farming for Habibur, the irrigation is important for the yield and quality of the crops. However, for the irrigation, Habibur’s family needed diesel generators. Access to these is limited.

And “the diesel price [was]hiked in the local market, and he had to pay more than the government approved rate.” Circa October, 2015, Habibur and his family were able to have solar-powered irrigation, which allowed for solar pumps.

It “covers around 12 hectares of land and provides 500,000 liters of water daily. Habibur and 28 other farmers share the cost of a single irrigation pump that waters their fields. Their irrigation cost has dropped almost by half.”

Solar has less of a negative impact on the environment than diesel as an energy source. The cost in terms of finances and the environmental impact decreased from October, 2015 to the present. These solar pumps have made life easier for the farmers.

Money saved is money earned, and was used to buy more cattle. With the Bangladesh successes, there are solar-powered systems in homes for the provision of electricity in the rural areas of Bangladesh.

The World Bank is supporting this endeavour. It will help install 1,250 solar irrigation pumps by 2018. With the flatter terrain and higher levels of sunlight, the solar energy sources are adequate sources of energy for the farmers.

“The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project II (RERED II) is piloting solar-powered irrigation solutions using a public-private partnership model.” The WEF said, “The implementing agency, Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) channels grant and credit funding to the non-government organisations and private investors who install the solar pumps.”

300 pumps are helping 8,000 farmers to date. The pumps need little maintenance and will reduce the emissions of carbon. About $0.9 billion is spent on diesel fuel per annum by Bangladesh for irrigation purposes. This will cost less, assist farmers and improve environmental conditions.

About Scott Jacobsen 318 Articles
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.

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