Arba Minch University Renewable Energy Technology Research Center has launched a grand research project collaboratively with Centre for Crop Health and Protection /CHAP/ and Space and Water Solutions/LENKE/ on "Optimizing Energy Demand in Rural Communities via Precision Agriculture Technology (SWIFT)", on April, 26, 2023. Click here to see the Pictures!

The Vice President for AMU Research and Community Engagement Office, Behailu Merdekios, Asso. Prof, said the project places AMU in a position of addressing some of the agendas of SDGs and the country’s aspirations through taping our resources for societal change and problem solving. According to the vice president, the project to be conducted will reduce food shortage occurring due to drought in the area. He also assured that AMU is committed to deliver every support to the effective accomplishment of the project in the timeframe and looks forward to further collaborations to implement other grand research projects into action.

Dr. Jenna Ross, CHAP's Senior International Business Development Manager, said, CHAP is a UK Agri-Tech Centre funded by Innovate UK and works to increase crop productivity for future generations through game changing modern technologies. She also noted that CHAP has growing network of partners with industries, businesses and research & academic sectors to promote solutions for market adoption and improve crop productivity. According to the Manager, the recent promising grand research project designed collaboratively with LENKE and AMU serves CHAP's purpose and will reduce societal problems related to drought and crop production. CHAP is committed to make its respective contributions to the project as per the proposal submitted and the agreement signed, she assured.

Dr. Lensa Etfa, Cofounder and CEO of Space and Water Solutions/LENKE/, started her speech by appreciating AMU for the right project site selection within short period of time which showed AMU’s sincere commitment of the project.  According to Dr. Lensa, the water, energy and food Nexus is a new approach ensuring food security and sustainable agriculture.  She also noted that the site observation helped her to confirm that apart from conducting research, there is real demand and need of the community to implement such projects in the area with bigger scale.

Mr. Beyene Feye, the focal person of the project said that the project targets at utilizing water, land and energy resources to ensure food security in Garda Mara district of Gamo Zone.  Assessing potential area for irrigation cultivation and source of water supply, the amount of water resource required, designing alternative energy source and optimizing the energy demand to pump water for irrigation lands and implementation will be the main activities of the project, he remarked.

According the project focal person, Mr Beyene, the project budget collaboratively allocated is £279,132 from which AMU shares £35,625 (2.42 million ETB), LENKE £170,006 (11.54 million ETB) and CHAP £73, 501 (4.99 million ETB).

AMU Executive Research Directorate’s Director, Dr. Tesfaye Habtemariam, said AMU has rich experience of managing collaborative grand research and community engagement projects with different sizes and areas. According to him, AMU as a Research University is highly interested to collaborate on different grand research projects to improve livelihood of communities at remote rural areas. The recent collaborative project with UK based institutions will also have a a pivotal role in increasing crop productivity through enhancing renewable energy and water for irrigation, he remarked.

Mr Sodesa Soma, AMU’s Renewable Energy Technology Research Center Director, in his part said, the research center has a good command of experience in managing Shay Solar project that electrified 33 off-grid health centers & schools and other similar projects on biogas technologies; hence, the center and its staff is so committed for the success of this project and to work on other collaborative areas with other partners on renewable energy technologies, he confirmed.

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