Organization: Solar Electric Light Fund
City/Country: United States
In 2007, the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) installed three solar-powered drip irrigation systems for women farming collectives in Dunkassa and Bessassi, two villages in the Kalalé district of northern Benin in West Africa. SELF’s Solar Market Garden marries solar pumping technology with drip irrigation to water and fertilize crops. Our evaluation partner, Stanford University’s Program on Food Security and the Environment, recently completed its first assessment and concluded that the Solar Market Garden (quote) “significantly augments both household income and nutritional intake.” According to Stanford’s assessment, each Solar Market Garden has supplied nearly 2 tonnes of produce per month. About 20% is kept for home consumption; the balance is sold at market. In fact, the women are earning an extra $7.50 per week selling fresh produce. I was there on market day, and was delighted to see the women proudly march off to town with their baskets brimming with leafy green vegetables. Solar Market Gardens have been installed in eight additional villages in Kalale. 329 women farmers and their families will directly benefit from healthier food production, increased income, and the fact that the drip‐irrigation systems are doing all of the watering. 48,000 people in the villages will benefit from the availability of high‐quality produce.