FG Installs Solar Grid In 156-Hectare Ogun State Farm Village

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News in brief: The federal government of Nigeria, through the REA, has installed a 100 kilowatt solar grid in the Eriwe farm village in Ogun state. Farmers engaged in poultry, piggery, and fishery activities can benefit from the grid, although it only covers a small portion of the agricultural settlement.

The federal government of Nigeria has installed a 100 kilowatt solar grid in Eriwe farm village, Ogun state. Owned by the Ijebu Development Initiative on Poverty Reduction (IDIPR), the farm is popular for its poultry, piggery and fishery activities. According to a research publication, catfish farming in the village had an annual gross margin of $44,539 and $25,868 for intensive and semi-intensive systems, respectively.

The solar grid project is part of the poverty alleviation scheme of the government’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA). With a land area of more than 156 hectares, it is only able to serve about 10 percent or 15 hectares.

Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, the managing director of REA, commented that the mini grid is part of a proof of concept. While inspecting the project, he told journalists that the agency will decide what is the best use of the power from the grid.

However, Quadri Oriyomi, representing the farmers, made it clear that the power will assist in covering the cost of pumping water. Oriyomi, the President of the Farmer Aquaculture Union in Eriwe Farm Village, revealed that fish farmers, who dominate the farming village, have struggled with increased fuel prices since the subsidy was removed.

There are 500 farmers in the Eriwe farm village and more than 200 pumping machines, Oriyomi said. “By the time you calculate it, this will just take care of 40 ponds, I mean 40 pumping machines out of over 200 pumping machines,” he explained.

Despite it not being enough, he added that farmers have agreed to subscribe to the solar grid-supplied power at an affordable price. His only appeal is that the grid be expanded quickly to serve other farmers to avoid crisis as those who still have to pay for fuel may become disgruntled in the long run.

On expansion, Ahmad (mentioned earlier) said that the government is inviting private developers to add more solar grids. The mini grid is there to show them that it works and can be done.

This particular type of REA project will be the only one for the South West as the agency picks one per geopolitical zone, as the managing director revealed in a report. Although, this does not prevent private companies from building similar agricultural-focused projects in other locations of the zone, taking a leaf from this venture.

Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya is a tech reporter of over five years, fiction writer, SEO expert and an editor. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and was previously shortlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize 2018.

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