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News: Ethiopia ends import of diesel-powered water pumps in favor of solar, other green energy options

Solar pump installation at Malima Bari peasant association of Bora district, East Shoa zone ( Photo Credit: ILRI\ Amenti Chali) 2016.

Addis Abeba– The Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands has announced that it has decided to end imports of water pumps that run on diesel and/or gasoline and instead focus on green energy options, including solar energy and other modern technology options.

According to the Minister Aisha Mohammed (Eng.), in the last nine months, 1,800 irrigation projects ranging from high to low levels have been completed and 251, 000 hectares of land is planned to be put into operations, a five-fold increase from the 50,000 hectares of land planned. Furthermore, some 1.3 million hectares of summer wheat is being cultivated in lowland areas, the Minister told state daily.

More than 54,000 water pumps have been distributed for irrigation purposes with the support from development partners, which helped cultivate some 280,000 hectares.

However, the the ministry has decided not to import water pumps that run on diesel and gasoline from now on in favor of green energy solutions, Minister Aisha said.

Emphasis has been placed on adapting and implementing solar and other technologies, and currently trial phases are being implemented and some parties are showing interest in participating in it.

Although encouraging results are being achieved in irrigation areas, insecurity, and shortage of construction materials as well as rising prices have put negative pressure on developers, the minister said. Furthermore, most of the irrigation construction projects are done by government institutions, which is challenging their capacity, along with exaggerated compensation claims, among others.

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Solar water pumps were piloted in Ethiopia as far back as 2016, when the Livestock and Irrigation Value chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project, in collaboration with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) launched the demonstration of solar water pumps with pilot households in Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ (SNNP) regions. AS

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