NEW YORK September 19, 2023 - Today at Climate Week NYC, Power for All, a global campaign to end energy poverty by accelerating the adoption of decentralized renewable energy, called for transitioning the $8 trillion food system out of fossil fuels and into renewable energy. Power for All’s research indicates that by updating just five key farming technologies for Africa's smallholder farmers, the continent could cut its emissions by 10% and boost its economy by a staggering $24.5 billion
Read the report here
Power for All’s findings are published in a new report, Powering Agriculture With Renewable Energy: A Just Transition for Food Systems. The report highlights the food system’s role in climate change, which is powered largely by fossil fuels and responsible for nearly one-third of all GHGs. According to Power for All, current efforts to meet the 60% increase in food demand expected by 2050 through “business-as-usual” will warm the globe far past the limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Countries in the Global South, despite contributing the least to the food-climate crisis, bear its harshest consequences. This imbalance threatens food systems in areas like sub-Saharan Africa, making it even harder to meet the growing population's food needs.
In the face of this impending crisis, Power for All calls for a food system overhaul by ensuring over 500 million smallholder farmers have access to decentralized renewable energy. The report recommends a wholesale energy transition for the agriculture sector, and models the impact of universal adoption of five core farming technologies on the African continent: solar-powered water pumps, solar-powered cold storage, solar lamps, electric mills and electric vehicles.
With Africa holding most of the world's untapped land, the highest number of people without electricity, and facing a population surge with increasing food demands, Power for All identifies the continent as the most important region for an agricultural energy shift.
Key recommendations of A Just Transition for Food Systems include:
- Revising all of national Agricultural Transformation Plans or ATPs to integrate decentralized renewables into the food system and require cross-agency collaborations with energy, agriculture and climate change (or similar) departments.
- Developing a new financial framework that prioritizes the role of renewable energy--specifically decentralized renewable energy--for agricultural use such as solar water pumps and cold storage.
- Driving awareness and demand for DRE-based agriculture products, especially with microfinance institutions and farmers groups.
“We need an energy transition for agriculture,” said Power for All’s CEO Kristina Skierka. “The fossil-fueled food system will push us well beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius if we continue agribusiness as usual. The great news is that the decentralized renewable energy market--responsible for more new connections in the last several years than traditional grids--is ready to serve millions of farmers around the world.”
Brian Kawuma, the campaign’s director of Powering Agriculture, said, “As a farmer, I have experienced first hand the effects of climate change on my land, as well as the benefits of access to renewable energy. It's time for governments everywhere to support the untapped potential of smallholders like me, with supportive policies for decentralized renewable energy and access to finance.”
Edonia Consolate, a female vegetable farmer in Arua, Uganda, who uses a solar pump to help water her crops with drip irrigation said, “The solar water pump is the way to go because [sic] in Uganda here, you can not predict the weather–maybe because of global warming. I would encourage that, if possible, farmers adopt the use of renewable energy for their production.”
About Power for All
Power for All is a 501c3 nonprofit global organization working to end energy poverty by accelerating adoption of distributed renewable energy (DRE). Powering Agriculture is one of the organization’s multistakeholder campaigns to increase use of renewable energy across the global food system for a more sustainable, resilient and equitable future. Learn more at powerforall.org.