Renewables for
African Agriculture
Integrating Modelling Excellence and Robust Business Models

Left; a woman irrigating vegetables by bucket; right: a solar PV minigrid in rural Kenya. 

In sub-Saharan Africa 80% of agricultural production comes from smallholder farmers, who face constraints that reduce their productivity resulting in a large crop yield gap. Extensive rain-fed agriculture (90% of all cropland) under the unpredictable and erratic rainfall pattern is a leading cause of the low productivity and food insecurity in Africa, together with a low degree of mechanisation. This has been reinforcing a persistent poverty trap triggering cyclical famines and jeopardising local development opportunities.   

To address these challenges, there is a need for agricultural transformation to ensure increased revenue opportunities and food security of the smallholder farmers of the continent. The input of electric energy provides a foundational building block upon which significant development becomes possible. Access to affordable energy enables pumping groundwater, rainwater harvesting and storage in underground or surface storage tanks, and powering crop processing and cold storage machineries that could significantly contribute to poverty elimination. This would have positive consequences for food security (SDG 2), ensuring healthy life (SDG 3), ensuring equitable and inclusive education (SDG 4), access to water (SDG 6), access to energy (SDG 7) and local socio-economic development (SDG 8), thus contributing to the reduction of rural-urban and gender inequalities (SDG 10).  

The RE4AFAGRI project aims to inform and contribute to the transformation of the African smallholder farmers’ agriculture and demonstrate planning and implementation approaches to the integrated water-energy-food-environment-economic development nexus management and business models for infrastructure implementation that are truly tailored to the local needs and socio-cultural and economic and financial context. This website hosts the key project output in terms of numerical modelling results and business model research, as well as events, capacity development, and training materials.

RE4AFAGRI is part of the LEAP-RE initiative.