First harvest at GBE Uganda’s solar irrigation demo garden in Gulu

Only months after its set up at GIZ office in Gulu, GBE Uganda’s demonstration garden for Solar Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS) brought a first rich yield of tomatoes, collards, and other vegetables. The demonstration garden is now ready for farmer trainings to begin in April.

Increasing the productive use of renewable energy in rural areas is a core goal of Green People’s Energy (GBE). To that end, Solar Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS) are a key technology, as they reduce water stress and time spent for manual irrigation. Demonstration sites are a great way to share this knowledge effectively.

GBE Uganda has therefore set up a first SPIS demo garden last year at GIZ Gulu Office, North Uganda. It includes two water harvesting storage tanks, two pressure tanks on raised stands for the drip irrigation system and two vegetable gardens with 6 beds and 12 driplines running across the ground. Additionally, there is a nursery greenhouse, a training pavilion and two solar pumps that keep the water in motion. Six types of vegetables (tomatoes, collards, cabbages, egg-plants, green peppers, garden eggs) were planted, and their splendid growth displays most directly the benefits of solar irrigation.

The demo garden offers a great space for trainings and to sensitize visitors for the opportunities of solar powered irrigation. The on-air environment makes it also easier to comply with current Covid19-regulations. First training sessions for in total 150 users and 120 technicians are envisaged to commence in April 2021.

A second demo site is currently under development at Daniel Comboni Vocational Institute in Gulu district. Potentially five more could be formed with women farmer groups in cooperation with the NGO African Women Rising (AWR) in order to promote gender-inclusion in decentralized renewable energy access.

“This fantastic first harvest at GIZ office in Gulu, with e.g. almost 200 kg of tomatoes and 70 kg of collards in less than a month, is a great motivation to keep going!”, says Lukia Nabawanuka, Technical Advisor of GBE Uganda.