Humanity faces difficult tradeoffs in producing sufficient food to feed our growing population and stabilizing our climate system. Globally, our food system is not sustainable, does not provide adequate nutrition to everyone on the planet and, at the same time, changes to our climate threaten the future of farming as we know it. Agriculture is both part of the problem and part of a solution to climate. We must seize every opportunity to shift away from inefficient farm practices, supply chains and diets choices towards long-term sustainability, profitability and health.
The impact of climate change on agriculture is pronounced on productivity and profitability. The latter is strongly linked to energy sources which their costs becoming higher. Consequently, the diversification of energy sources and their use in an efficient manner contribute to mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture in different area in the world, and could be a major driver in this process. Also, the energy input to modern and sustainable agriculture production and processing systems is a key factor in moving beyond subsistence farming towards food security, added value in rural area and expansion into new agricultural markets.
In many cases, renewable energy technologies and hybrid systems can provide energy services that support agricultural activities at all stages of the supply chain from the production process to the delivery to the final customer. Water pumping and desalinization for drinking and/or irrigation are the cornerstones for these applications.
The links between energy inputs and improvements in agricultural productivity and profitability are very close and the benefits can be widely spread for rural economic and social development through:
- Raising farmers and rural incomes;
- Stimulating the local economy by creating innovative projects and reinforce the employment;
- Avoiding population migration, especially youth, into peri-urban and urban centers by offering job opportunities.
Thus, DUN aims at carrying a project for renewable energy in agriculture sector in order to implement pilot projects in MENA region to promote its use with an efficient manner.
The project aims to highlight the important role played of modern energy services and related technologies in the modern agricultural production process for smallholders in developing countries. It will focus on energy input in agricultural production systems, processing and commercialization in order to increase crop and animal productions and add value to products, enhance food security, increase income for farmers and rural enterprises.
The ultimate objectives of the initiative are:
- To implement pilot projects in different countries under various natural conditions to promote the use of RE in agriculture;
- To increase the awareness and knowledge of RE contribution to micro-enterprise development in rural areas;
- To conduct research and development activities for the optimization of RE systems for agricultural use in order to develop optimized services and/or product packages, e.g. optimized irrigation systems for economic irrigation.