Renewable Energy for Rural Development – Phase 2 (RERD2)

RERD Phase 2
> Mozambique

Empowering Mozambique's agriculture with solar irrigation

  • Provincial validation workshops to strengthen local authorities' ownership of the project and their collaboration in deploying solar irrigation systems

By: Sophie Teyssier

Enabel (Belgian Development Agency), in partnership with the National Energy Fund (FUNAE), have been implementing the second phase of the Renewable Energy Program for Rural Development (RERD2) since 2018. At the request of the Government of Mozambique, a solar irrigation component has been introduced, which provides for the supply and installation of irrigation systems largely subsidized by the project, to small (900), medium (100) and large (10) farmers. In addition to the equipment, the project supports as their training in the appropriate and profitable use of these expensive systems. This additional component started in 2021, in partnership with the National Institute of Irrigation (INIR) and is denominated as RERD2(+).
Since then, numerous preparatory actions have been carried out, emphasizing the identification and sensitization of potential beneficiaries of the program, as well as the mapping of areas with agricultural potential for the use of solar irrigation systems (SPIS). The process was carried out with the District Services of Economic Activities (SDAE), in coordination with the Provincial Services of Economic Activities (SPAE) and the Provincial Directorates of Agriculture and Fisheries (DPAP) of the Provinces of Manica and Zambézia.

Recently (February 2023), an agreement was signed with International Development Enterprise (iDE), an international NGO, for the management of the program grants. Beneficiary prioritization criteria and an “expression of interest” form have been developed by Enabel to guide the beneficiary selection process. The beneficiary selection process is sensitive and delicate, which is why the active participation of key local actors is important in order to guarantee transparency, justice and inclusion. In the current year, the program provides for the selection of 260 producers; as well as the allocation and installation of 150 SPIS, distributed between the two provinces of intervention.

The project carried out two workshops in May – one in Manica Province and one in Zambezia Province - to present and discuss with the local authorities what are the access and priority criteria for producers who are interested in the acquisition of these systems. Additionally, the workshops also went through the “expression of interest” form which interested producers will have to fill in, with the help of extension workers.

This form will make it possible to assess the current production conditions, and the ability of the applicants to contribute to the acquisition, to use the equipment correctly and profitably, and to ensure its maintenance. It will also be used to establish a “base-line” database. The workshops took place in the two beneficiary provinces of the project, with Enabel's institutional partners. Representatives of the provincial services of Agriculture and the directors of the agricultural extension services of each of the concerned districts participated. The two workshops were particularly lively, with group work that allowed everyone to deepen their understanding of the priority criteria and to participate actively.

With the presentation of action plans from the implementing partner iDE, they showed the departments concerned that the project would, as the Extension services stated, “finally start” on the ground. It actually did start, but the installation of SPIS is the “concrete action” expected since the official start of the project - 2 years ago. There is significant excitement for the deployment of these systems on the ground and the second semester of 2023 is expected to demonstrate concrete results.

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