With its expertise in solar power technology, China Geo Engineering Corporation has helped lessen the electricity bills of some farmers in Ghana.
The company established the Harvest Farm in 2010 as an integrated farm with poultry and livestock, vegetables and aqua-culture including tilapia.
“We do it integrated because we want to use this farm as a research center, as it is integrated, all the experts will come here they have the basic condition created to do their research and teach technology to the local farmers,” Sun Liang, Agriculture Researcher at the engineering firm, told the media here on Friday.
Sun told reporters that the company is also venturing into supporting local irrigation rice farmers immediately by converting their electric powered water pumps into solar powered systems.
“What we are doing is to change the electricity to solar energy. Our mother company is China Energy Group and that company is the leader on solar energy in China. We are already laying the solar panels in our farm here and we have 200 pieces of panels and one panel is 1.7 m2 (1.7 square meter) and one panel can provide 250 watts of power,” he disclosed.
The initiative which is in collaboration with the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, is expected to alleviate the plight of the peasant farmers who are saddled with high electricity tariffs.
Willington Kwame Havor, Chairman of the Aveyime Cooperative Irrigation Rice Farmers Cooperative and Marketing Society explained the challenge with the high electricity tariffs to the media.
“Electricity has been our major problem. This pump station has been put on SLT (Special Load Tariff) customer status every month. Whether we consume or not we are charged 4,200 cedis (1,096 U.S. dollars) aside our actual consumption so we pay roughly 2,044 dollars per month.” Havor explained.
He said his association approached China Geo with a proposal and the Chinese firm did not hesitate in coming to their aid, culminating in the decision to convert their pumps into solar powered ones to reduce the cost of production.
Chris Feruta-Benee, the Director of Operations at the Ghana Irrigation Authority (GIDA) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said the department would give the full support to China Geo to continue with the good work.
“The benefits (of solar assisted irrigation pumps) are enormous,” said the director. “If we are able to convert from the national grid to solar system, that reduces the cost of production of the farmer drastically, and once the cost of production is reduced, his income or her income will increase.” Enditem