Charles Nana Kwarteng - Volta Irrigation

Charles Nana Kwarteng and Samuel Adewole – Volta Irrigation – Community shared irrigation system

Date grant awarded: August 5, 2018

VOLTA IRRIGATION is an Agriculture project dedicated to increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers. Volta Irrigation is committed to creating a community-based irrigation system scheme to help smallholder farmers easily irrigate their farmlands in Rwanda. The team has built an irrigation system that is low-cost, community shared, and designed explicitly for small plots of land, using stationary bicycles to expedite the irrigation process.

Charles Nana Kwarteng and Samuel Adewole partner with local manufacturers and local farming cooperative unions to build and set up their system. The group expects to decrease the cost of irrigating farmlands by 75% and help smallholder farmers break their cycle of poverty by increasing their productivity by 12 times on a yearly basis. Their solution is affordable, eco-friendly, and empowers the community. By integrating different components to stationary bicycles, they transform mechanical energy into electrical energy, enabling them to pull and push enough water to irrigate over 40 hectares of farmland at a time at a shared cost. The introduction of the Alma Volta, which can be manufactured and maintained at low cost in rural workshops, represents a significant revolution in small-scale irrigation in the developing world. Its acceptance in Bugesera, where Volta irrigation will pilot and launch has been described as extraordinary, with over 100 smallholder farmers in two cooperatives unions excited and eager to start using their solution. Their solution requires each farmer to pedal for 20 minutes a day. Pedaling is done in a comfortable, rhythmic walking motion, lifting up to 400,000 liters of water from rivers and wells – enough to irrigate 40 hectares of land in most tropical and arid areas. The usefulness of this type of technology innovation is that farmers and technicians in remote villages can maintain and keep running this type of water pump system.

They will use the grant funds to bring their human powered irrigation system to the ground (i.e manufacturing), to train and employ their technicians (i.e maintenance), and to bring the Alma Volta to those who need it the most and when they need it the most (i.e transporting).