From November 8th to 14th, Michel Digbeu, the West Africa RIH Water and Energy Technical Advisor, and a team from GFA Consulting Group went on an inspiring mission to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The mission’s goal: meet the innovators selected during the first phase of the Regional Call for Innovations and learn more about the proposed innovations, while checking relevant administrative, commercial, technical, and environmental aspects. During their journey, Michel and the team visited the deployment sites, met with some of the innovators’ clients, and checked the actual on-site conditions for scaling-up the innovations.
“We found highly motivated and committed company managers who did not hesitate to share their company and the innovation…The field visits allowed us to really see and appreciate their innovation in the field as well as the way their company operates.”
Michel Digbeu, technical advisor at WE4F
Meet five innovators from Burkina Faso:
The visited enterprises work in different areas of the water-energy-food nexus. Revitaliz, for example, produces organic fertilizer by recycling waste; they want to improve their production capacity and make industrial processes more efficient.
The enterprise Yarmotek aims to develop a digital service kit that uses drones to define land plots, characterize soils, and deliver localized and customized treatments, thus reducing the use of environmentally hazardous pesticides. Both enterprises have already implemented their approaches in the market and have a strong producers and cooperatives base with whom they collaborate.
3) Solafrique and Africa Energie Solaire (AES)
Solafrique is an enterprise that offers a solar pumping kit, which consists of wells, pumps, and solar panels, along with masonry basins to store the pumped water and use it for irrigation. One its major asset is that the kit is controlled by a mobile application. Africa Energie Solaire (AES) also offers solar pumping systems with efficient panels and pumps. Both enterprises aim to provide smallholder farmers and other rural projects, such as school gardens, with a reliable and cost-competitive option for accessing water.
4) Faso Dembe
And finally, the innovative rice producer and processor, Faso Dembe, aims to increase its production capacity through the installation of boreholes equipped with solar pumps. This will allow additional irrigation during the rainy season and will counteract drought, enabling the company to produce rice during the off-season. The company will be able to have over two production cycles in the same year.
Thanks to this visit, WE4F was able to gather more information and obtain a more in-depth view of the local situation and the innovators’ projects. The West Africa Regional Innovation Hub will now be able to better guide and support the innovators and ensure, through the success of their project, the dissemination of climate-friendly, energy- and water-efficient innovations for more productive and sustainable food production in the region.
About the authors:
Michel Peudré Digbeu, West Africa Regional Innovation Hub, Technical Advisor
Michel holds a Water and Environmental Engineering degree with a specialization in Water and Sanitation from the International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), and a RETscreen Certificate Expert: Analysis of renewable energy systems from the International Institute of La Francophonie and Sustainable Development (IFFD). Since April 2020, Michel joined GIZ as Technical Advisor of the Water and Energy for Food project in West Africa.
Lucía Benavides, West Africa Regional Innovation Hub, Communication Assistant
Lucia is a landscape architect with a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management. She gained academic and professional experience in Mexico, Guatemala, France, Germany, as well as in East and West Africa. She currently pursues a degree in Ecology and training in Arboriculture. Since 2018 she provides support in communication and project management for GIZ and other international organisations, including editing and translation work, data management, visualisations and cartography.