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Decentralized renewable energy solutions for food value chains in the HKH region

Organizers: ICIMOD, IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) and SELCO Solar Light Pvt. Ltd

Participation in this event is by invitation only

Decentralized renewable energy solutions for food value chains in the HKH region



Cost-competitive, decentralised renewable energy solutions provide a unique opportunity to reconcile energy, socioeconomic development, and climate objectives in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). Some of the value-chains in the agri-food sector – modern farming practices, food processing, treatment, storage, and distribution – can benefit greatly from these solutions. Such interventions can also contribute to food security and agricultural productivity of remote mountain communities.

The energy flows and needs of mountain communities along the economic value chains are still not well understood and documented. To address this, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) conducted a comprehensive scoping exercise to assess selected economic value chains (e.g. yak, bamboo, tourism) and to identify gaps and potential actions for advancing renewable energy in the HKH region. The scoping exercise and subsequent consultative workshop provided a concrete basis for developing an action plan, outlining potential areas for targeted interventions to foster an ecosystem conducive for deploying renewable energy solutions in the region.

To support the implementation of this action plan, advance the understanding of energy needs in the agri-food chains in mountain communities and facilitate deployment and adaptation of off-grid renewable energy solutions, IRENA and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (REEECH) initiative of ICIMOD have jointly selected four food value chains – potato, yak (milk and other food products), buckwheat, and vegetables. Although these four food value chains were selected based on research conducted in Nepal and Bhutan, they are relevant to other HKH countries since they meet following regional criteria: (i) relevance to mountain communities, (ii) potential to create jobs for youth and women, (ii) possessing low risk to climate change/potential to use RE/EE solutions and (iv) ability to leverage networks and resources. SELCO Solar Light Pvt. Ltd (SELCO) also contributed to the technical aspects of this study based on their extensive work in decentralized renewable energy productive uses, particularly in the agri-food sector.

About the workshop

ICIMOD, IRENA and SELCO are jointly organizing this virtual dissemination workshop to discuss the findings of the assessment studies, highlight techno-economic viability of renewable energy for food value chains in HKH, demonstrate market opportunities to entrepreneurs and technology providers, and share best practices across the region.

The event will engage experts from across the region who bring with them a keen understanding of the HKH region and diversity of experience on energy and/or food value-chains. The workshop would also provide opportunities for potential partnerships between entrepreneurs, technology providers, and potential donors/investors.

  • Identify major value chains based on market opportunities to harness entrepreneurial potential in the HKH mountains
  • Provide an overview of the socio-economic situation of HKH with focus on key value-chains and their energy demands
  • Understand the challenges and opportunities of using decentralized renewable energy solutions in agri-food value chains
  • Disseminate knowledge and findings of the study and collect feedback from a wider base of stakeholders
  • Collect suggestions and feedback from concerned stakeholders engaged in energy and food value chains to incorporate in the HKH report
  • Increase awareness of the viability of decentralized renewable energy amongst policymakers, financiers, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders from the region
Expected Outcomes
  • Understanding of the perceptions and interests of various actors of food value chains in the HKH
  • Collated feedbacks to incorporate into the viability assessment of decentralized renewable energy for the food value chain in the HKH report
  • Dissemination of findings of the on-going assessment to a wider range of stakeholders

Wednesday, 24 March 2021, 11:00-12:30 (Nepal Standard Time)

Time Programme    Speakers
11:00-11:05  Welcome remarks Nanki Kaur, Regional Programme Manager, Adaptation and Resilience Building, ICIMOD
11:05-11:10  Opening remarks Mr. Amjad Abdulla, Head of Partnerships, IRENA
11.10-11.25 Rationale/context-based value chain analysis and energy baseline Anu Joshi Shrestha, Enterprise and Value Chain Specialist, ICIMOD

Abid Hussain, Food Security Economist, ICIMOD

11:25-11:55 Overview on the potential of technologies across the nodal points in chosen value chains and business models examples Dipayan Sarkar, Chief Manager RnD and Policy and Executive Secretary to CEO, SELCO Solar Light Pvt. Ltd

Shripathi Hadigal, Programme Manager, SELCO Foundation

11:55-12:25  Open discussion/expert suggestions Moderator: Ali Yasir, Programme Officer, IRENA
12:25-12:30  Closing remarks IRENA/SELCO/ICIMOD