In the Central Region of Uganda, EnDev makes local solar companies, and their customers thrive.
The former civil engineer Kilenzi Yahaya found his calling in farming. “Farming is a good business with many advantages. Working from home allows me to monitor my poultry farm all day”, says Yahaya. However, he faced one significant hurdle: the lack of accessible water in his area. “I pushed myself to start farming even without direct access to water. I began by buying a 10,000-liter water tank [more than 2500 gallons] and regularly hiring a water truck to fill it so that I could make sure my birds always had water”. Over time, he realized that it was quite expensive to buy water. Attempts to alleviate the water shortage through well-digging and electric water pumps only compounded challenges, leading to high electricity bills and frequent breakdowns.
Yet, this massive hurdle of water accessibility has been overcome with a solution: an electric water system that is solar-powered provided by Tulima Solar, a leading supplier of solar-powered agricultural equipment in East Africa.
Results-based Financing (RBFs): The Heart of the Solution
At the heart of this solution lies EnDev’s support through Results-based Financing (RBF). Within this scheme, EnDev collaborates with local entities like Tulima Solar and provides them with incentives for achieving pre-agreed results.
Vincent Sseremba, Tulima Solar’s Country Manager, explains that the company now offers farmers two options as part of the RBF strategy: either a cash payment or a lease-to-own and pay-as-you-go model, where customers follow a prepayment plan. He adds, “With the support from EnDev through awareness activities, we witnessed significant growth, selling 356 solar water pumps compared to 77 before”. Through such solutions, Yahaya and many other farmers benefit from the success of their farms, now equipped with affordable and climate-friendly water access.
"With the solar-powered water system, I have access to water 24/7, and my farm and household are thriving."
– Yahaya Kilenzi.
Benefiting Market and Customers
Yahaya discovered the company Tulima Solar and its promising products via social media and arranged for a visit to his farm. The Tulima Solar team observed that the farm was home to cows, non-grazing goats and chickens, indicating a significant need for water. They recognised the highwater demand on Yahaya’s farm and proposed a customised solution. Sseremba elaborates that before supplying the pumps, Tulima Solar conducts a thorough assessment of customers’ specific needs. This involves identifying water sources, calculating the distance for water pumping, and understanding the farmer’s crop type and water usage. Expanding on this process, Sseremba adds, “We utilize design apps where all information about a particular client is uploaded. In our operations, there’s a design tool that selects the appropriate solar pump design from the 12 available options for the client.”
While the solution is beneficial for farmers, it is also profitable for Tulima Solar. According to Sseremba, many people are now inclined to start farming with the use of solar-powered irrigation.
Promising More: Supporting Agriculture Amidst Climate Change Challenges
Tulima Solar continues to expand its impact with solar-powered water pumps, particularly in regions like the Kampala district, where climate change poses increasing challenges to agriculture. “We have had great success and growth over the years. While the COVID-19 period was not kind to us, I must say it was a blessing in disguise when EnDev came into partner with us,” explains Sseremba.