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SwitchON Foundation launches SEWA network providing platform to promote sustainable climate smart technologies



On the occasion of Akshay Urja Divas or National Renewable Energy Day, SwitchON Foundation launched the Strengthening Energy Water and Agriculture (SEWA) Network, a network of grassroot organisations working in these domains to create an ecosystem for the promotion of solar pump, micro irrigation, ground water recharge and other sustainable agricultural practices in Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.

Through the SEWA network, the members will collaboratively raise funding to seed projects, provide capacity building training to farmers and other stakeholders on sustainable technologies and practices, disseminate communication materials on schemes and subsidies and demonstrate proof of concepts in diverse agro climatic zones of and subsequently scale-up successful business models.

Keynote Speaker of the event, S Suresh Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Power, Government of West Bengal, emphasized on the promotion of solar pumps in agriculture, lowering the dependency on fossil fuel and grid power at the tail-end.

A report on “Impact of solar pumps on small and marginal farmers” was published at the event. The report shows a 45-65% rise in farmer incomes after replacing conventional pumps with solar pumps.

“Replacing a 5HP diesel or electric pump for 1 year is equal to replacing 1 car from the road for one year,” the report states.

Speaking at the event, Manu Maudgal, Director of the Clean Power Programme at Shakti Foundation highlighted the importance of promoting distributed renewable energy solutions to address the issues of climate change.

Bijay K Sinha from Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency and Kishood Koner from Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency talked about the initiatives for promotion of solar pumps in their respective States.

Stephanie Jones, Programme Manager of Good Energies Foundation noted that while promoting solar pumps, the groundwater extraction needs to be monitored and replenished before a water crisis arises.

Talking about just transition from conventional to renewable energy, Moutushi Sengupta, Director, MacArthur Foundation noted the importance of a streamlined model to achieve the same.

 “The network provides a holistic approach towards rural development by bringing together grassroot organisations working with small and marginal farmers to enhance incomes and build a sustainable ecosystem.” said Vinay Jaju, Managing Director, SwitchON Foundation.

Speaking on the occasion, Organic Farming Authority of Jharkhand CEO Jai Prakash Tiwari said, “Practise of organic farming increases incomes of small and marginal farmers due to increasing demand and premium prices of organic products.”

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