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Winrock International

The Power of the Sun

Increasing Incomes for Smallholder Farmers in Kenya

Joshua Okundi works hard to earn a living — growing crops such as corn, passion fruit, bananas and mangoes. He also has two fish ponds, where he raises tilapia. Like many smallholder farmers in Kenya, Okundi was spending a significant sum for fuel to run his diesel irrigation pumps, eating into his modest profits.

Now, thanks to a new pump that operates on solar power, Okundi has zero fuel costs, meaning that he will recoup the cost of the pump in only a few months. It has also allowed him to increase his income by adding four new money-generating activities on his farm.

But it’s not just the crops that are growing — word is, too. Winrock’s USAID-funded Kenya Smallholder Solar Irrigation (KSSI) project is raising awareness of the benefits of solar irrigation for small farmers and has developed key partnerships with another USAID-funded project, Kenya Agricultural Value Chains Enterprises (KAVES), as well as DuPont, which sells crop protection products and hybrid seeds to thousands of Kenyan farmers. Okundi, who is a leader in the Bwogi Mac Bwogi farmer group, has helped spread the word — leading to more farmers obtaining a solar pump.