SurfAid Introduces First Ever Solar Powered Irrigation System in Indonesia

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Photo by Lamhot

SurfAid is excited to share our latest project - a solar powered drip irrigation system in Kanca village, Parado sub-district, Sumbawa. In Parado, 51% of the population lives in poverty (compared to 11% nationally), with another 40% on the margins of poverty. Most people are subsistence farmers, and rely on seasonal rains. But as rainfall is increasingly irregular, food insecurity and poverty are exacerbated.  


These issues have led SurfAid to introduce the first ever solar powered drip irrigation system in Indonesia. SurfAid has been working with Kanca and four other villages as part of an overarching Mother and Child Health Programme. Kanca village was outstanding throughout the programme, demonstrating a high level of commitment and initiative. The village was recognised as the “Most Clean and Healthy Village” in the province (of 4.7 million people) and placed 3rd place nationally - an accomplishment SurfAid and Kanca are incredibly proud of.


SurfAid has made great progress expanding food production in Kanca. Community health volunteers have been trained in permaculture and nutrition gardens, and they’re sharing these techniques with the community. However, while every household has started a nutrition garden, commercial expansion requires irrigation.


The solar drip irrigation system is a combination of solar (photovoltaic) water pumps and low-pressure drip irrigation that will allow farmers to grow high-value and nutritious crops year-round. Pumping water from a perennial river, the solar system will directly improve yields, reduce vulnerability to changing rainfall patterns, and enable multiple cropping practices for not only domestic consumption but saleable crops.


Photos by Rahmania

The solar powered drip irrigation system contributes to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda - Sustainable Development Goal #7 - Affordable and Clean Energy, as it will reduce reliance on expensive, non-renewable energy sources and ensure a clean, reliable, sustainable supply of energy.

The project cannot be achieved without commitments from the community, local and national government. The community is providing the construction labour for the solar drip irrigation system, and making community owned land available for the project. BumDes are village based enterprises and a new structure initiated by the Indonesian government. Supported by the World Bank, BumDes are aimed to support village initiatives and allow village access to development funds. SurfAid will set up the Kanca BumDes to run the solar drip irrigation system with profits and in-kind support contributing to the sustainability of the systems.

Photo by Rifaid

With your support, SurfAid is tackling food insecurity and improving health, sustainably. Our participatory process and commitment to long term engagement continues to save lives and empower entire villages.


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