Analysis: How Solar Technologies Could Lead Senegal Towards Self-Sufficiency in Rice Production
Improving the productivity of Senegalese rice farmers and processors through solar irrigation and rice processing technologies is a key objective of Energy 4 Impact and GIZ’s Water and Energy for Food Program (PEEPA). By establishing an ecosystem of private and public sector players, this 15-month project will demonstrate the viability of business and financial models that can support the growth of the rice paddy sector, improve smallholder farmer livelihoods and the country’s food security.
Although Senegal is one of the largest consumers of rice in West Africa, it relies on international markets to import 60% of its annual rice consumption. The local rice production is characterised by unmodernised smallholder farming systems that yield low quality rice and generate low profits for farmers who spend about 73% of their turnover in inputs (seed, fertilisers and herbicides) and irrigation (fuel and maintenance of diesel pumps).
One of Senegal’s top priorities is to improve its food security and become self-sufficient in rice production. This can be achieved by increasing the quantity and the quality of the produce and decreasing losses. Modernising the rice sector through the introduction of solar technologies and improved agronomic practices could be a game changer for the country’s high-potential rice cultivation areas such as the one along the Senegal River Valley.
Photo courtesy of Francesca Noemi Marconi.