Knowledge Exchange for Making Solar Water Pumping System Affordable to Small Farmers

Winrock International and Nepal Agricultural Co-operative Central Federation Ltd. (NACCFL) jointly visited Nawalpur, Rupandehi and Kapilvastu districts from 21-27 November 2018 to understand potential of solar water pumping (SWP) system . Ms. Resha Piya and Ms. Nira Bhatta from Winrock International and Mr. Kapil Gautam from NACCFL and representatives from SWP companies visited as a team.

The team interacted with board members and managers of 8 Small Farmer Agricultural Cooperative Limited (SFACLs) located at Aghauli, Dumkibas, Kumarwarti, Dudharakchya, Saljhandi, Semlar and Barkulpur to assess the performance of SFACLs and their readiness to promote and provide credit to their members to install SWP systems for agriculture . The team carried out focus group discussions with farmers and also visited some of the potential farms to observe and understand existing water pumping technologies and issues related to its operation and maintenance; type of crop and livestock; and farmer’s interest to adopt SWP systems.

The team also carried out consultations with local elected representatives including Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Chairperson, Ward Chairpersons of Kawasoti Municipality, Butwal Sub Metropolitan city, Sainamaina Municipality, Binaya Triveni Rural Municipality and Buddhabhumi Municipality to assess interest of local government to promote SWP systems in their areas and budget allocation for agriculture.

In addition, the team discussed on existing knowledge of SFACL’s board members, farmers and local elected representatives on SWP technologies, its application, benefits, supply chain, price, operation and repair and maintenance during consultation process. Field visit revealed that SFACL’s board members, farmers and local elected representatives has limited information on SWP systems. Most of them are aware about SWP systems but only few have seen the systems operating. All SFACLs are found to be interested to promote and provide credit to SWP system for agriculture to their farmers but they were curious about water discharge quantity and maintenance requirement of the system. Likewise, farmers were also interested but their concerns were on cost/benefit analysis of existing system versus SWP. Similarly, local representatives seemed positive towards promoting SWP systems in their areas. Currently, none of the municipalities have allocated budget for solar pumping system promotion in this fiscal year. However, they mentioned that if there is request from community they can provide support from budget allocated for agricultural purpose.

Winrock will design Knowledge Exchange Workshop to lessen the existing knowledge gap of all stakeholders and promote appropriate SWP system to meet the requirement and need of farmers.