Bboxx, a next-generation utility, and EDF, a global leader in low-carbon energies, are expanding access to solar-powered irrigation systems for thousands of farmers in Togo.
As part of the partnership, the Togo Government is providing a 50% subsidy to halve the cost of solar-powered farming and irrigation systems for 5,000 farmers.
This is alongside tax exemptions on import duties and VAT on the water pumps, making the product more affordable for the end-user – smallholder farmers in Togo.
This builds on the ‘CIZO cheque’ subsidy launched in 2019 by the government, which made solar energy more affordable to help overcome energy poverty.
With the launch of this new business line, Bboxx and EDF are stepping up the pace of their cooperation launched in 2018 with the creation of a joint venture Bboxx EDF Togo.
The latter is committed is making sustainable irrigation more accessible for underserved communities in Togo, increasing agricultural productivity, generating additional income, and improving economic opportunities.
Watering crops through solar-powered farming
Supplied by solar irrigation provider SunCulture, EDF’s partner and affiliate company in Kenya, Bboxx EDF Togo will be deploying the water pumps and arranging financing for customers.
The Togolese market will benefit from SunCulture’s experience from having rolled out this solution at a large scale in East Africa. EDF brings its hands-on expertise in the sale and installation of off-grid solutions in Central and West African markets.
The irrigation systems to be deployed in Togo will also benefit from EDF’s technical R&D expertise in the off-grid sector, where EDF will oversee design choices and help enhance product performance.
The water pumps will be integrated with Bboxx Pulse, Bboxx’s comprehensive management platform using Internet of Things (IoT) technology, allowing for remote management and monitoring. The services will be provided on the same pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model used by Bboxx’s Solar Home Systems (SHSs).
This deal will improve farmers’ economic opportunities by increasing productivity by up to five times, while removing the need to travel long distances to bring backwater.
The solar powered farming partnership will enable farmers to secure a harvest even during the dry season, with the possibility to grow higher-value crops. It will also create additional irrigation by increasing the area cultivated. This contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8 – decent work and economic growth.
Commenting on the initiative
Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of Bboxx, commented: “Strengthening our partnership with EDF in Togo by expanding our energy services and moving into sustainable agriculture, is an exciting milestone in our joint venture. For farmers in rural Togo, this latest deal will be life-changing, improving productivity, household income and quality of life, while fostering economic development at scale and contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“The Togo Government’s subsidy is vital to accelerate this programme to thousands of farmers and make sustainable agriculture affordable for all. We are passionate about leveraging our pioneering technology to contribute to the green economic recovery. We are making energy and other vital services more accessible as we continue on our mission to unlock potential and transform lives.”
Xavier Rouland, EDF’s Off-Grid Department Director, commented: “After two years of growth in Togo in the field of solar kits, this new step is crucial for us since it will help boost the rural economy, offering farmers tools that increase their incomes while using more environmentally friendly solutions. We are very proud, with our partner Bboxx, and thanks to the political will of the Togolese authorities, to bring forward the solar-powered irrigation know-how of SunCulture, EDF’s Kenyan partner, as well as our experience of the Off-grid market in West Africa.
“This operation is the embodiment of our ambition in the off-grid business: to create synergies between our various partners and companies in our different countries of operation, for the benefit of rural populations and the improvement of their economic and living conditions.”
Samir Ibrahim, CEO and Co-Founder of SunCulture, commented: “We are in a global food crisis, and this subsidy program is an important showcase of how innovating financing can play a leading role in addressing food insecurity across Africa. This partnership will be catalytic in promoting off-season and higher-value agriculture across Togo, and we’re certain that it will pave the way for other sub-Saharan African countries to mobilize resources to address food crises, improve livelihoods, and spur economic development.
“We are thrilled to be a contributing partner in Africa’s largest public/private partnership utilizing smart solar irrigation subsidies, and in doing so, ensuring that sustainable agriculture is both affordable and accessible to those who stand to gain the most.”