Ethiopia’s irrigation systems, mini grids receive boost through USD 20 million injection

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

The Distributed Renewable Energy – Agriculture Modalities (DREAM) launches a 20 million dollar worth project to kick start nine renewable energy mini-grids and irrigation systems across Ethiopia.
The project was officially launched on October 11, 2022 at Hyatt Regency hotel with the presence of government officials, representatives of World Bank, Africa Development Bank, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), and the European Investment Bank as part of the initiative to build the first solar mini-grid powered large scale irrigation systems in Africa, providing famers with reliable, affordable, and sustainable irrigation.
Partners involved in the project include Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water and Energy, Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands (MILLs), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Agriculture Transformation Institute (ATI), Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), The World Bank, European Investment Bank and African Development Bank – Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa.

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

Over the life of the program which is said to stay for three years, 200 mini-grids will provide new or improved access to electricity to over 290,000 people, create or improve more than 60,000 jobs, while displacing up to 200,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The project which adopts renewal energy using solar mini-grids is expected to help increase modern irrigation practices.
Agriculture is the heart of Ethiopia’s economy, accounting for 32% of GDP and 70% of the labor market. However just 5% of land is irrigated and crop yield from small farms are below regional averages.
The majority of rural Ethiopians depend on farming for their livelihoods, and climate change is making farming in the country, and across Africa, more unpredictable. DREAM will support agricultural communities and provide opportunities for farmers and local businesses to grow and thrive.
The DREAM project will provide reliable and affordable solar mini-grid power and irrigation systems that will pump water more efficiently than diesel pumps, increasing crop yields, incomes, and food security. The initiative expects farmer incomes to increase from 50% – 300% depending on the site.
Over the next ten years, GEAPP partners will support the Government of Ethiopia to connect up to20 million people with reliable and renewable electricity via economic development projects across rural Ethiopia that facilitate investments into productive use energy.