By Ignatius Joseph:
Calling on people across the world to develop a sustainable solution for irrigation in rural India, Greenpeace announces its innovation challenge “A Watershed Moment in India”. The challenge goes live today, September 3rd, 2013. This challenge series is an open platform to design an innovative renewable energy pump kit which will meet the needs of millions of small farmers, cutting down irrigation costs and also encouraging the uptake of micro-irrigation methods.
In the absence of grid connected electricity, millions of small farmers depend on diesel powered irrigation pumps to water their crops. Diesel is a dirty fuel and with rising prices it is becoming uneconomical for the farmers. Thus it has become essential to switch to renewable energy powered irrigation pumps. But such pumps have remained marginal. There is currently no pump available in the market that is tailored specifically to the needs of the small farmer which can be adopted widely, with an unsubsidized price, low enough to compete with the diesel pumps.
Manish Ram, Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace India said, “Through this challenge we aim to develop a renewable energy irrigation solution which is not only sustainable but also economically viable. The challenge being global will give an opportunity to the participants to share their ideas and discuss them with people across the world.”
Greenpeace is mobilizing passionate, innovative people to focus their energy on solving a tightly targeted problem. The challenge brief is simple: design a renewably powered pump that fits into the lifestyle and budget of India’s small-scale farmers.
Ingo Boltz, Manager, Greenpeace Innovation Lab said, “This competition isn’t just about winning. The entire process is transparent. As soon as a design is submitted it’s open to the public and other entrants to review. Participants get feedback from experts in the field and the opportunity to iterate on their design in a real-world scenario, a valuable experience in addition to the prize money and a chance to work with Greenpeace and its partners to prototype their concept in farmer’s fields in India.”
The challenge will run for 10 weeks in total starting September 3rd and focus on water irrigation in India. Participants will get an amazing opportunity to work with innovators across the world and also a chance to win the prize money. The submissions will be reviewed by the jury which comprises of experts from the development and renewable energy sector. The last date for submission is November 15th, 2013. Post this, the community and the expert jury will vote for the winning submission. The total prize money for various categories is 30,000 Euros or 26 lakh Indian rupees. The prize money will help winners to transform their idea into a business reality.