By Obas Esiedesa
As part of efforts to boost food production in the country, the Federal Government has begun a scheme that would see the deployment of 10,000 mini-grid solutions to power rural farmers by the year 2030.
The scheme, Energizing Agriculture Programme which would be anchored by the Rural Electrification Agency, REA, with the support of Rocky Mountain Institute and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, is expected to accelerate the deployment of energy-agriculture solutions to farmers.
Speaking at the launch of the programme in Abuja yesterday, the Managing Director of the REA, Engr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad said the scheme would unlock various opportunities in the sector by developing projects that will accelerate the productive use of electricity in rural communities.
Engr. Ahmad explained that in the past one year the agency has developed a unique relationship with the Rocky Mountain Institute to develop the concept for the EAP.
“We ventured into the Energy-Agriculture space to create a nexus that allows us to utilize the key activity in rural communities to improve the productive use of electricity, which includes agricultural activities.
“The key priority for the REA is to ensure that the solutions we deploy in rural communities have both social and economic impacts on the lives of the people in those communities. Therefore, ensuring that electricity is used productively is a major priority for the REA”, he added.
Also speaking at the event, the Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari noted that power supply is important to boosting agricultural production in rural communities.
According to him, data has shown that “power is important to rural economies not just because it lights up the homes, but also it solves the problem that is driving the contributions of rural smallholders’ agriculture to climate change, deforestation as source of power to either process local produce.
“Basically, if we can substitute this with off-grid solutions or what REA is proposing then a huge progress would have been made”.