Subsistence farming is the primary source of income and food in rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa, where lacking access to affordable and reliable electricity, water, and food supply restricts economic growth.
Through years of research carried out at the Technical University of Munich, we developed the cycle concept of decentralized Energy-Water-Food systems. Now, we want our interdisciplinary solutions to improve the supply of electricity, drinking water, and food in rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Solar-powered water pumps can extract drinking water and run irrigation, making year-round farming and higher yields possible. The increase in agricultural productivity results in more organic waste, which we recycle in biogas plants. Our long-term vision is to make the concept also economically sustainable so that profits from food sales help pay back the expenses for the solar-powered infrastructure.
Since 2019, we have been working on our very first Energy-Water-Food-System in the rural Jesuit community St. Rupert Mayer in Zimbabwe, where we are implementing our solutions. So far, we have constructed a biogas plant for the hospital's kitchen. The cooks can now prepare food for patients without using unsustainable and unhealthy firewood. In January we launched an agribusiness with the primary goal of creating employment and ensuring food supply for local community members. We have also established a first solar system to power a water pump and full-time jobs for six locals. Having successfully implemented our second solar-driven water pump (and, almost, the drip irrigation system), we now want to focus on a more sustainable use of the land. First research projects provide support for the shift from conventional agriculture towards agroforestry, a land use management system combining trees, crops, and/or animals on the same area. Ideally, we will add wood and fruits from trees as well as honey and other animal products to the community’s product portfolio while creating further job opportunities (bee keeper, shepherd, forester). Simultaneously, our project to install basic infrastructure for food processing continues. Ongoing consulting and training for the locals still ensure operation and maintenance. Revenues from food sales will be kept in the community to further strengthen the sustainability of the project so that it is ultimately independent of further donations.
Now we want to appeal for your help to support our project in St. Rupert Mayer. We have identified the need for 3,000 EUR for:
- project management agroforestry
- tree seeds
- purchase and breeding of sheep/goat
- On-site research and consultancy by TUM students
The farmworkers, the hospital employees, and all other members of the community are highly motivated to make it work, and so are we.
Your contribution will make a difference!