In Africa, there are constraints arising from the gender gap in the agriculture sector. Addressing this gap has the potential to produce significant gains for society by increasing agricultural productivity, reducing poverty and hunger, and promoting economic growth. In essence, targeted investments in female farmers and instituting policies that close this gender gap in African agriculture could yield enormous benefits for women and their families, communities, and entire countries. Closing the gender gap can help increase food productivity from agriculture and entrepreneurial skills for female farmers. This would result in improved livelihoods for Africa’s growing population which is expected to quadruple within the next 90 years. If women world-wide had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30% and raise total agricultural output by 2.5–4%. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that the gains in agricultural production alone could lift 100 to 150 million people out of hunger (source FAO 2010/2011).
In relation to addressing the gender gap in agriculture, Aptech Africa brings solar water pumping and irrigation solutions that can reduce the amount of labor and time that is needed to irrigate crops. These solar water pumping and irrigation systems require less maintenance compared to fossil fuel pumps. Solar water pumps reduce the need for fuel and the need to travel to the petrol station whenever pumping is needed. Secondly, solar water pumps are durable and have long warranty periods. This ease of maintenance applies specially to surface solar pumps (ones that are not submerged in water) because they don’t need to be kept watertight and because they are easily repairable. In fact, most maintenance of surface pumps can be done with basic farm tools.
Solar water pump solutions also have environmental advantages as they use renewable energy. They do not produce harmful pollutants which keeps the air and soil on farms clean.
Aptech introduced PAY-N-PUMP with the aim of helping female farmers access solar water pumping. PAY-N-PUMP helps to improve farm productivity with its innovative solution for solar water pumping and irrigation for small-scale farmers. The PAY-N-PUMP solution also comes with the support of agronomists who provide advice to farmers regarding agriculture best practices to help increase crop yields. PAY-N-PUMP also provides full maintenance to ensure the pumping systems are always working.