Volta Irrigation: an ever-growing student venture solving real-life problems.
In 2018 a group of 2nd year ALU Rwanda students — Charles Nana Kwarteng, Adewole Samuel, Alain Fabrice Baraka Uwayo, and Joseline Ihirwe — developed an efficient and low-cost irrigation system called the Volta Irrigation to assist farmers by supplying over 400,000 litres of water to irrigate 40 hectares of land using drip irrigation.
Problem In Need Of Solution
Currently, smallholder farmers suffer to fetch 40 liters of water daily, which is still not enough to irrigate one hectare of soil. And the lack of water negatively influences smallholder farmer yields.
The Volta Irrigation Solution
Volta Irrigation is a locally sourced, locally powered and community-driven irrigation hardware, designed to beat drought on the continent. It requires no fuel and no solar panel; it’s a pedal-powered irrigation machine and can pump over 3000 liters per hour.
Their idea won the Rwanda Hult Competition and secured $30,000 of funding. Since then Team Volta, as they aptly named themselves, received an invitation from Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture to showcase their winning innovation at the Annual Rwanda Agriculture Fair in 2018, giving them exposure to government officials from Kenya, Rwanda, and Angola in the process.
The Piloting Phase
As of January 2019, Team Volta finished their first Volta Irrigation pilot project in Bugesera District, Eastern Province, Rwanda. Their pilot program supported 65 smallholder farmers for a season. The farmers who used the system absolutely loved it. Team Volta was able to triple their yields! On average, yields increased from three tonnes of onion to ten tonnes per hectare, making their pilot an all-around success.
Expanding Volta Irrigation
To continue to refine and develop their idea, as of February 2019, two of the Team Volta members, Charles Nana Kwarteng and Adewole Samuel Dotun, started a 4-month incubator program at Watson University in Boulder, Colorado USA to continue to develop, test, and plan for the expansion of their product.
We’re proud of everyone on Team Volta for their recent successes and we look forward to seeing what fresh ideas Charles and Adewole generate during their time at Watson University.