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Solar diet

The project “Solar diet” is promoted by M.A.I.S., collaborating with Ingegneria Senza Frontiere (No-borders Engineering), Ritmi Africani (African Rithms) and Coeur et Action, co-financed by the Piedmont Regional Authority. The project plans to install a water pump working with photovoltaic energy and three watering tanks.

Intervention area
Diorou, Ziguinchor

August 2010 – July 2011

Agriculture, for Senegal, represents the main economic resource, especially for small local areas, such as the village of Diourou. Agricultural products are the main means of support for the local community, but also commercial and exchange resources with other communities represent an income source. For all families in the village, the community vegetable garden is a source of life and the hub of local economy.
In this frame, is the need of making the most from the vegetable garden, using the mentioned techniques in advanced agriculture and the appropriate irrigation systems.
One of the biggest problems of Sub-Saharan Africa is the scarcity of water and the total absence of a water system, such as, for instance, an aqueduct.
The water supply comes through wells worked manually, which require a great effort by the village population. The well is the only water source for the village, both for human daily use and for irrigation. As of today, it is one of the women’s tasks to water the village vegetable garden of Diourou, through the use of 5 big 10 litre watering cans. This irrigation method does not allow a uniform and proper watering of the crops. Here comes the need of new watering systems, aimed at the yield maximization.
Drop by drop irrigation systems', using photovoltaic energy, are the best solution for the local population’s needs, with the aim of helping poverty reduction and the promotion of food security.  

Objectives of the project
In Senegal

  • to increase the nutritional intake of the local population, with an increase in the crops production through a photovoltaic energy watering system;
  • to define and develop educational paths for the creation of specialized technicians, allowing a local self-management of the watering system;
  • cooperation for the development of educational services for the whole local community, in terms of food and diet education

In Italy:

  • To make the population of the Piedmont Region aware of the environmental problems, of Food Sovereignty, of decentralised cooperation and development education, promoting an active participation of the citizens.

The ‘drop by drop irrigation systems’ can significantly improve the families’ income and the nutritional intake of sub-Saharan Africans. The photovoltaic energy pumps installed in remote villages of western Africa represent an economically efficient method to convey all the water needed for irrigation, especially during the long dry season. One pump, powered by photovoltaic energy, allows to improve the irrigation work that, in rural areas, is traditionally carried out manually by women and girls. In order to power the pumps, it was chosen a carbon-neutral photovoltaic system because it’s got a longer duration and, in the medium-term, costs less than other pumping systems powered by oil fuels.
Irrigation, powered by photovoltaic systems, allows an increase in the average monthly production of crops, such as tomatoes, aubergines, carrots and other vegetables, and a financial surplus obtained from the sale of exceeding products, with a significant increase in the possibility of buying basic need goods.