A new study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) describes the role renewable energy can have in elevating the livelihoods of the millions of rural poor, specifically in terms of the impact it can have on the billions of people employed in the agri-food chain. In the study, the agency uses data from the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a SEMBA Advisory Board member.
SELF has pioneered the use of solar power for a wide range of applications including household lighting, water pumping, school electrification, drip irrigation and wireless Internet access.
Off-grid renewables can support productive activity at all stages of the agri-food chain, from irrigation to support food production, through post-harvest processes, including agro-processing and food preservation for storage and transport. Modern renewable technologies also allow sustainable food preparation and cooking.