Solar-powered irrigation systems take off in Senegal

Image: Scalatore1959 © 123RF

InfraCo Africa and Bonergie Irrigation have signed an agreement to scale up access to solar-powered irrigation solutions in Senegal.

The latest agreement will further efforts of an agreement signed in 2019, when InfraCo Africa joined with solar equipment specialist Bonergie Senegal to establish Bonergie Irrigation, a local Special Purpose Vehicle, to pilot the implementation of over 100 solar-powered irrigation systems.

Following a successful pilot project, InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), signed a Shareholders’ Agreement and a Loan Agreement with Bonergie Irrigation SAS to continue supporting the scale-up of the project.

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Under the new agreements, InfraCo Africa will hold a large minority shareholding in Bonergie Irrigation, committing an additional $2.4 million to scale up farmers’ access to solar-powered irrigation solutions in Senegal.

It has long been recognised that reliance on rain-fed agriculture exposes Senegal’s farmers to the effects of climate change on temperature and rainfall patterns. This collaboration aims to ease the impact of climate change on farmers.

InfraCo Africa CEO, Gilles Vaes said of the announcement: “We are excited to continue working with our partners at Bonergie Irrigation to substantially scale up our offering to farmers in Senegal. Access to solar-powered irrigation systems will replace existing diesel pumps, providing farmers with a more sustainable solution to addressing the linked challenges of climate change and food security.”

The agreement will see the commissioning, sale, installation and maintenance of at least 2,000 further pumps over the next three years.

In response to feedback from the pilot, the project will also roll out over 500 drip irrigation systems, which Bonergie says are designed to optimise the efficiency of irrigation whilst also protecting groundwater sources from over-abstraction. The systems come in a range of sizes with hire purchase financing available to spread the cost.

CEO of Bonergie Irrigation SAS, Gabriele Schwarz said: “Bonergie Irrigation SAS is very proud that InfraCo Africa has decided to develop a close partnership with us as a shareholder. Their tremendous experience will help us to supply a minimum of 2,000 pumps and 500 drip irrigation systems to rural farmers in a sustainable way. The nexus of Water-Energy-Food is one of the main topics for the coming years and Bonergie Irrigation SAS and InfraCo Africa are in a perfect position to develop this market in Senegal.”

It is anticipated that Phase II of the Bonergie Irrigation project will be completed by the end of 2023 with InfraCo Africa continuing to support the project as a shareholder.

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