How Solar power is bringing food security to Africa
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Ninety per cent of Malawians live in rural areas; agriculture makes up 80 per cent of the labour force and 80 per cent of its exports. With so many people reliant on growing things from the ground, disruptions to the climate threatens the wellbeing of an entire nation.
For centuries Malawian farmers have learned the patterns of the seasons - when to plant their seeds in order to capture the rains that watered the ground and brought forth food to eat and sell. But this life-saving knowledge is becoming worthless, as rainfall patterns are distorted by a changing climate and the El Nino weather event, which this year created the worst food crisis in 25 years.
This time 6.7 million people do not have adequate food.
However thanks to solar, the poorest and most remote people in Malawi are turning the power of the sun to their advantage and benefiting from irrigation systems, which are pushing back against the ravages of climate change.
Solar is most commonly known for its potential to transform the world's energy supply. Solar farms are popping up all over the place, and costs continue to plummet. Only this month the International Energy Agency released figures showing that last year, around the world, half a million solar panels were installed every day. But for Malawian farmers, the magic of solar technology has another and more immediate form of assistance - helping them to water their plants.
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