Arusha -based Innovative Technology and Energy Centre (ITEC) managing director Dr. Herb Rhee announced on Friday during the official opening of the solar power plant at Mseseweni suburb in the area located on the foothills of Mount Meru.
“So far we have already done hydrogeological survey at Ngurdoto village to identify suitable location for the well for solar power irrigation project,” he said.The well will be dug by Serving Friends, a Korean Non-Profit Company to serve people in developing countries.
Currently Ngurdoto villagers are cultivating maize, tomato, beans, coffee and banana for domestic and commercial use.
“We have decided to support farmers in this village after we have discovered that irrigation water is most critical need in rural villages in Tanzania and the majority of farmers do not access water for farming activities,” he said.
Although Tanzania land is big, soil is very fertile and is very good for farming activities, however there is lack of water for irrigation in many areas across the region including Ngurdoto village.
“Just look if farmers have enough water, the farmers at Ngurdoto village can harvest three crops per year, currently they do harvest only one to two crops per year during rainy season,” he noted.
He said the first day he visited at Ngurdoto village to identify the main challenges facing them we have introduce new solar power plant to them. They said solar power is very good project for them, but they need irrigation water also so that they can improve their incomes.
He said innovative technology and energy centre (ITEC) was established to develop, educate and commercialise innovative appropriate technology suitable for Tanzania and sub-Saharan Africa using renewable energy and ICT.
Currently ITEC work together with Tanzanians and Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) to ensure people of Tanzania have better life in -terms of health, energy, agriculture, education and businesses.
ITEC has been established with the cooperation between Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Seoul National University (SNU) and Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) founded by World Bank and Tanzanian Government with the support of Korean Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology (ITC) and National Research Foundation of Korea.
On the other hand, the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT will make the utmost effort to support the centre’s growth into a hub of energy and agricultural science and technology research, playing a leading role in technological innovation in Tanzania.
Meanwhile, Ngurdoto village chairman, Moses Ayo added that Ngurdoto village was officially established in 1973 and so far the village has 4000 residents from 5 suburbs that include Bondeni, Mburiashi, kati, Msamaneni and Mseseweni.
Although main economic activities at Ngurdoto village is agriculture, water for irrigation farming activities is still not enough to grow the crops.
“We need water for irrigation farming so that we can cultivate tomatoes, vegetable, banana, maize and other cash crops to improve our livelihoods,” he noted.
He said they normally depend on water for farming activities from Msamaneni suburb and the water is not enough to save farmers at Ngurdoto village.
“We believe the solar power well that will be established in our village with the support from the Korean government will help us to run our farming activities more easily and transform our lives,” he noted.
This will be the second project that will be established at Ngurdoto village because so far the Korean government has already built solar power plant worth 150m/- at Mseseweni suburb so that people can set-up income generating activities, have better lives, get lighting and improve rural farming productivity .
So far about 43 houses including one kindergarten classroom had been connected with solar power as well as install 10 street lights especially for the safety of women and children at night.
The project will continue to more houses at Mseseweni village because the majority of people do not have access to electricity.
He expresses thanks to Dr. Rhee for visiting at Ngurdoto village to see the main challenges facing them that in turn had helped people to access solar power.