One of WE4F’s main activities is supporting the capacity development of our innovators, but also of other stakeholders within the Water-Energy-Food Nexus. To accomplish this the West Africa Hub organised a training workshop at Université Jean Lorougnon Guédé (UJLoG) from March 8-10, 2022 in Daloa, Côte d’Ivoire. The workshop focused on solar powered irrigation and used the SPIS toolkit. It was aimed at members of the SAFIR project and other actors involved in the agricultural sector and in the water-energy-food nexus.
UJLoG is a public university in Daloa, Côte d’Ivoire, which comprises of five Training and Research Units (UFR) including the Environment UFR. The Environment UFR encompasses several departments or research groups, including the Interdisciplinary Research Group in Landscape Ecology and Environment (GRIEPE).
How it all began…
Last year, GRIEPE developed a proposal for a project on solar powered irrigation systems (SPIS)., The project, called Système Agroforestier Irrigué en Côte d’Ivoire (SAFIR), aims to improve the production of agroforestry systems in Côte d’Ivoire. It will be carried out on a 4 hectare plot of land located within the university. For the implementation of this project, the UFR, through GRIEPE, reached out to WE4F toto benefit from the West Africa Hub’s technical and financial support. The Hub saw the value in this cooperation and how the capacity development measures can improve food security and agricultural production so that a partnership was created.
This is why the project SAFIR was launched soon after, in August 2021. Since then, several activities have begun such as a soil study, a study about the realisation of the solar powered irrigation system, and a search for potential suppliers in order purchase tools and seeds.
Future solar irrigation experts for a sustainable food production
To support the project’s launch, WE4F recently conducted a three-day training workshop on solar irrigation technical concepts and its use and management. The training was aimed at members of the SAFIR project, including the representatives of the benefiting cooperatives, teachers, GRIEPE members, UJLoG of Daloa students, local companies of the water-energy-food nexus, and other interested actors involved in the agricultural sector (i.e., the National Agency for Rural Development (ANADER)). The training was held by Michel Digbeu, a Technical Adviser with the West Africa Hub, and focused on the innovative SPIS Toolbox promoted by WE4F . The toolbox consists of 10 tools in Excel and Word formats and it addresses all aspects of the solar irrigation value chain. During the workshop, five main tools were discussed:
- farm analysis tools
- water requirement calculation tools
- soil nature determination tools
- sizing tools
- tools for calculating the return on investment of a solar irrigation system.
Through this training, WE4F enabled participants to learn about good practices in solar irrigation and to strengthen their skills in the agricultural sector, while disseminating innovations. Throughout the entire training, participants, who were highly motivated and inquisitive, held lively exchanges within working groups and proudly presented their results, while also jumping into engaging discussions.
The twenty-three participants included
- representatives of the benefitting cooperative societies
- university teachers
- undergraduate students and doctoral students from the Environment and Agroforestry UFRs, ANADER agents
- companies in the energy, water and agriculture sectors
- and representatives from the Ministry of State and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
This training was a good starting point for enabling exchanges and strengthening capacity development throughout the year. The West Africa Regional Innovation Hub looks forward to offering more trainings in solar powered irrigation across the region!
Yannick Aka, West Africa Regional Innovation Hub, Advisor for Communication and M&E
Yannick holds a Master’s degree in English with a major in American Civilization at the University of Bouaké and worked for various NGOs in Côte d’Ivoire before joining the WE4F team.