KENYA – In a bid to address food insecurity in Kenya, the British International Investment (BII) and Shell Foundation have joined forces to invest USD2.6 million in SunCulture, a Kenya-based company specializing in solar-powered irrigation systems.
The partnership aims to empower an additional 9,000 smallholder farmers to enhance farmland productivity sustainably.
According to the World Food Program, approximately 2.8 million people in Kenya suffer from food insecurity, exacerbated by the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture.
The partnership between BII and Shell Foundation responds to this crisis by supporting SunCulture’s efforts to provide solar-powered irrigation solutions to smallholder farmers.
BII, and Shell Foundation will contribute USD2.1 million and USD0.5 million, respectively, to SunCulture aiming to harness the future value of carbon credits, mitigating upfront costs for climate-smart irrigation products.
SunCulture anticipates a 25-40% reduction in the cost of solar irrigation pumps through carbon monetization.
According to the organization, the reduction is expected to significantly expand SunCulture’s market reach, putting clean irrigation solutions in the hands of thousands more farmers in East Africa.
The investment structure involves the repayment of the facility through future sales of carbon credits, with BII taking on the risk associated with future carbon credit prices.
Samir Ibrahim, SunCulture CEO, emphasized the innovative nature of the structure, expressing hope that it inspires other financing organizations to adopt similar solutions.
In addition, the UK Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, highlighted the ambition for BII to lead in climate finance.
Notably, the investment aligns with the recently published Development White Paper, emphasizing the importance of innovative climate solutions.
On the other hand, BII CEO Nick O’Donohoe stressed the vitality of supporting farmers in adopting sustainable practices, contributing not only to increased productivity but also to improved resilience to climate change impacts.
He noted that the investment marks the first transaction under the strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between BII and Shell Foundation.
The organizations plan to provide up to USD245 million in blended finance and co-investment products, aiming to remove barriers for early to mid-stage businesses in agri-energy and decentralized renewable energy sectors.
The investment aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG2 (Zero Hunger), SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), and SDG13 (Climate Action). It also supports the vision of the new Africa Green Industrialization Initiative (AGII), launched at COP28, to foster sustainable and resilient industries.
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