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In Benin, long dry seasons make it very difficult for women farmers to grow food. For six months of the year, there is little rainfall and the land is parched. Because of this, women farmers and their families have been trapped in a cycle of poverty and poor health.

But thanks to an innovative project developed by the Solar Electric Light Fund, year-round food production is now possible in Benin’s remote villages.

The Fund’s Solar Market Garden project combines solar-powered pumps with drip-irrigation systems to provide a cheap and eco-friendly way to get water from nearby rivers and underground aquifers. This means farmers can now water crops throughout the year and produce reliable, healthy food.

The Kalalé District of Benin, where the project operates, has 44 unelectrified villages. This project aims to not only improve food production, but generate solar electricity for all 44 villages for a wide-range of end-uses—including schools, health clinics, water pumping systems, street lighting, and wireless Internet access.

SELF's Solar Market Gardens is already helping smallholder farmers take steps to help Benin meets its commitment under the Paris Climate Change Agreement by ensuring that 31,419 kg of CO2 is avoided each year.

To tell us more, we spoke to Bob Freling, the Executive Director of the Solar Electric Light Fund.

Listen to the interview below, and subscribe to the Momentum for Change podcast. To stay connected with Momentum for Change, subscribe to the e-newsletter

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