Skip to main content


Collaboration is lifting the barriers that have prevented farmers in West Africa having access to affordable and sustainable energy services.


Active Project

The Challenge

In West Africa, smallholder farmers are struggling to grow enough food to feed the growing population. Growing and processing enough food would be easy if enough farmers had electricity.

Low agricultural productivity

  • In West Africa, 33 million farms are less than two hectares – these small farms account for 80% of food production in the region.

Energy gap

  • Many isolated rural areas lack electricity. 9 out of the 15 West African countries have rural electrification rates below 19%.


“We hope to see organisations and local authorities cooperating with each other and with suppliers of sustainable energy solutions, to provide access to energy solutions and information that will lead to a transformative approach to energy use in the agriculture sector”

Mattia Vianello, Regional Director of Practical Action West Africa.

The Ingenious Solution

We’re demonstrating new models that enable farmers to access sustainable energy. This will allow them to improve their incomes as well as the food security of the entire West Africa region.

  • We’re drawing on our practical experience of micro-hydro systems in Nepal, Peru, and Zimbabwe to capture and share good practice
  • Recent work in the horticultural sector in Senegal, which is characterized by well-structured professional farmer organizations and supported by a strong research and advisory services, is also providing inspiration for our work in West Africa. We’re looking at how we can replicate our successes in Senegal elsewhere in the region.
  • We’re talking to farmers to pinpoint their energy needs, market opportunities and bottlenecks along the entire value chain, from production to post-harvest handling.
  • We’re identifying existing sustainable technologies that could make the biggest difference to the lives of smallholder farmers.



“We applaud this approach of Practical Action, which is not only innovative but also enhances farmers’ knowledge and the design of farmer-centric investment projects”

Diery GAYE, General Secretary of a farmers’ organisation in Senegal

Work like this depends on your support

Help us work with communities to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems