27 September, 2021 Member article

ARE Member InfraCo Africa & partners set to substantially scale access to solar-powered irrigation solutions

Dakar, 23 Sep 2021 – Following a successful pilot project, ARE Member InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), has signed a Shareholders’ Agreement and a Loan Agreement with Bonergie Irrigation SAS (Bonergie Irrigation) to continue supporting the scale up of the project. Under the new agreements, InfraCo Africa will hold a large minority shareholding in Bonergie Irrigation, committing an additional US$2.4 million to substantially scale up farmers’ access to high quality irrigation systems in Senegal.

It has long been recognised that reliance upon rain-fed agriculture exposes Senegal’s farmers to the effects of climate change on temperature and rainfall patterns. In 2019, InfraCo Africa joined with solar equipment specialist Bonergie Senegal to establish Bonergie Irrigation, a local Special Purpose Vehicle, to pilot the implementation of over 100 high quality Solar Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS).

InfraCo Africa’s CEO, Gilles Vaes, said of today’s announcement: “We are excited to continue working with our partners at Bonergie Irrigation to substantially scale up our offering to farmers in Senegal. Access to solar-powered irrigation systems will replace existing diesel pumps, providing farmers with a more sustainable solution to addressing the linked challenges of climate change and food security.”

The agreements signed today will see the commissioning, sale, installation and maintenance of at least 2,000 further pumps over the next three years. In response to feedback from the pilot, the project will also roll out over 500 drip irrigation systems (DIS) which are designed to optimise efficiency of irrigation whilst also protecting groundwater sources from over-abstraction. The systems come in a range of sizes to suit each farmer’s needs with hire purchase financing available to spread the cost, making the systems more affordable.

“Bonergie Irrigation SAS is very proud that InfraCo Africa has decided to develop a close partnership with us as a shareholder”, says Gabriele Schwarz, CEO of Bonergie Irrigation SAS. “Their tremendous experience will help us to supply a minimum of 2000 pumps and 500 drip irrigation systems to rural farmers in a sustainable way. The nexus of Water-Energy-Food is one of the main topics for the coming years and Bonergie Irrigation SAS and InfraCo Africa are in a perfect position to develop this market in Senegal.” It is anticipated that Phase II of the Bonergie Irrigation project will be completed by the end of 2023 with InfraCo Africa continuing to support the project as a shareholder.