SunCulture designs and sells solar-powered irrigation systems and agricultural extension services that make it easier and more reliable for farmers in Kenya to grow high-value fruits and vegetables.
SunCulture’s solar-powered drip irrigation systems deliver water and fertilizer directly to crop roots, resulting in yield gains of up to 300% and water savings of up to 80%, according to the company. Over a thousand smallholder farmers in East Africa have installed SunCulture systems so far. Their solar irrigation kits have a payback period of only one growing season as a result of the increased crop yields and the savings on fertilizer, labour and diesel to power water pumps. To increase access for smallholder farmers, SunCulture also offers various financing options.
In addition to drip irrigation systems, SunCulture also provides other services to improve the productivity and competitiveness of smallholder farmers. These services include soil and water analysis, recommendations on crop selection, onsite technical support and maintenance of the irrigation systems as well as access to new markets for the produce.
Why you should care
More than 80% of Kenya experiences low and erratic rainfall, and climate change is making the rainfall patterns in the region even more unpredictable. As a consequence, farmers are unable to rely on rain-fed agriculture to meet their subsistence needs throughout the year. Although diesel and treadle pumps are available, diesel pumps are unaffordable due to high fuel costs, and treadle pumps can only pump from a limited depth and they require significant physical effort. SunCulture’s system relies on renewable solar energy to provide more reliable livelihoods for farmers.