Launching Solar Powered Irrigation Pumps in Phattepur, Saptari, Nepal

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The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) project and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), installed 23 solar powered irrigation pumps (SPIP) in Saptari Nepal in February 2017 to promote SPIPs as a clean, reliable, and affordable technology for year-round irrigation. ICIMOD and its partners will formally inaugurate these SPIPs on 6 April 2018. NMB and ICIMOD will also hand over a package of seeds to farmers who suffered losses in the August 2017 floods.

Although 68% of Nepal's population is employed in agriculture and forestry, accounting for 34% of GDP, Nepal struggles to achieve food self-sufficiency. The Terai, known as Nepal’s food basket, accounts for 71% of paddy production, 64% of wheat production, and 58% total vegetable production in Nepal. It has rich groundwater potential that can be used for year-round irrigation, but the lack of reliable and/or affordable energy means that farmers are unable to tap groundwater from shallow depths. As a result, they leave a large portion of their land fallow. Nepal has a groundwater potential of 8.8 km3 but only 11% of replenishable groundwater resource is currently used. SPIPs allows farmers to tap groundwater and cultivate crops throughout the year in a clean and sustainable way. It is also a gender-friendly technology. ICIMOD, in cooperation and consultation with the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), tested three financial models (grant, grant-cum, and rental) with special discounts for women farmers. These SPIPs have been operational since February 2017.

The Ambassador of Australia to Nepal will inaugurate the launch, which will be attended by farmers, community members, and representatives from the Government of Nepal. During the event, guests will have the opportunity to interact with farmers who have been using the pumps for over a year and get to know their story.