Abu Dhabi-based International Holding Company PJSC (ADX: IHC) is building a pioneering solar-powered irrigation system to drive increased energy-efficient agricultural production in Egypt.
The initiative, which is designed to be replicated across the country, aims to increase production of fruit and vegetables for export, create skilled jobs in a modernized agriculture sector, and optimise energy and water resources.
IHC’s subsidiary, Al Hashemeya Company for Land Reclamation and Cultivation, has invested AED 1.5 million in constructing the pilot project, which is made of six wells spread over 500 acres, using photovoltaic system to help pump water onto 10,000 acres (4,050 hectares) of farmland in the Wadi Al-Natroun region of northern Egypt. Al Hashemeya is aiming to operate more than 80 wells over the next five years with an AED 20 million investment, making 75% of the total power needed coming from solar energy.
Mamoon Othman, Chief Executive Officer of IHC Food, commented: “IHC’s project in Egypt is demonstrating what can be achieved across the country and the wider region to rapidly advance the agriculture sector, which is key to increasing exports. Solar is a reliable and cost-effective source of energy in this environment, and its deployment for irrigation is increasing crop yields and enhancing competitiveness. We see a bright future for the sector if this project can be replicated widely.”
The system will steadily increase generation capacity to 17 MW to provide 75% of the farm’s total energy needs at less than half the cost of electricity from the national grid. It is estimated that solar power will be available for 5 to 6 hours in the winter season and between 8 and 10 hours in the summer.
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