Project Description


How can disadvantaged and conflict affected communities be restored and put back on a path to lasting sustainability? In Sub-Saharan Africa, investments in Agriculture and Electricity offer a clear pathway to creating measureable socio-economic impact in rural offgrid agrarian communities in the region.

It is a well-established fact that Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of Sub-Saharan Africa employing over 60% of the population and contributing 23% to the economy of the region (Sakho-Jimbira & Hathie, 2020). In spite of this obvious business case for agriculture in the region, the sector is still unable to meet its huge potentials due to several key factors including:

  • Lack of equipment for mechanized farming
  • Low access to processing and preservation machines to convert agricultural produce from its raw state to a more valuable state or preserve produce to
  • Lack of electricity to power agricultural processing and storage machines
  • Inadequate access to markets due to the interior nature of agrarian communities

All of the above factors culminate to keep small holder farmers in state of poverty with most of them living on below $2/day (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2018).

This report below summarizes initial results from a project conceptualized and implemented by Prado Power in collaboration with Farmties under the ‘Humanitarian Grand Challenge: Creating Hope in Conflict’ funded by the USAID, UKAID, and Netherlands Enterprise Agency with support from the Grand Challenges Canada.


The project proponent surveyed two agrarian communities, Jera Bakari (Adamawa State) and Mbadede (Benue State), in the conflict affected North Eastern and North Central Nigeria respectively. The main objectives of the project include:

  • Exploration of climate smart infrastructure investments in energy access and agriculture in conflict regions in Nigeria

  • Detailed exploration of the nexus between energy access, agriculture and water supply as a means of creating improved socio-economic conditions in rural communities affected by conflict.

  • Establishing the importance of electricity and agriculture processing, storage and market access as vital tools necessary for sustainably revamping conflict affected off-grid communities

  • Designing and deploying energy efficient small scale processing and storage equipment for agricultural products

  • Creating a sustainable model for investing in energy access mechanisms in rural off-grid communities in Sub-Saharan Africa where over 60% of the population are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods

  • Improving food security and enhance the preservation of fresh produce in fragile communities through the provision of small scale agriculture processing and storage equipment

  • Educate smallholder farmers on best agricultural practices and provide information on access to improved seedlings

  • Providing a linkage to corporate agri-produce off-takers thus ensuring that produce is sold at a fair market price


A user research campaign was conducted through over a period of one month where the prospective users were interviewed. Below is a summary of the current practices in the communities:

Location is an important factor in determining what solution is implemented in each community. For this project, the project team considered other factors to establish the suitability of the communities for the project. Some of the additional factors include:

Regulation has an outsize effect on energy projects and is key to success or failure of a project

The receptiveness of the communities to renewable energy projects in the localities

The willingness of the community to sign an exclusivity agreement committing to a tariff and operational guidelines

A summary of the baseline conditions in the community is shown in Table 1 below:

Table 1: Baseline conditions in the communities

Mbadede Grid is absent. Candles and kerosene lanterns used for basic lighting 527 1581 Water is partly available from wells about 3km from the cluster Yam, Cassava, Soy beans, Groundnuts, Oranges
Jera Bakari, Adamawa State Grid is absent. Candles and kerosene lanterns used for basic lighting 628 1884 Water is obtained from a seasonal  stream about 5km from the community Rice, Maize

Technology and Equipment

In deciding on the type of technology and equipment to deploy for the project, Prado Power considered the use of modular, scalable and energy efficient equipment that can be easily scaled up when demand increases. Thus Prado Power designed and deployed a solar PV system and some energy efficient equipment to support agribusiness in the communities.

Agricultural processing and storage equipment deployed was to ensure that some form of processing would take place at community level before produce is sold to end users. This in turn would provide valuable jobs for agriculture practitioners in the community, improve the value of produce, and enhance the profitability of agriculture.

Residential and commercial customers living at distance from the hub were provided with Solar Home Systems on a Pay-As-You-Go scheme, while local institutions such as the community school and community hospital were connected to the hub and provided with Solar Home Systems for free.

On the right are equipment deployed across each of the communities.

It is a well-established fact that Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of Sub-Saharan Africa employing over 60% of the population and contributing 23% to the economy of the region (Sakho-Jimbira & Hathie, 2020).

Agricultural processing and storage equipment were procured from a local manufacturer following survey of quantity and type of agricultural produce grown across each of the communities. Table 2 below shows the distribution of agricultural processing and storage equipment.

Table 2: Distribution of agriculture processing and storage equipment

Community Equipment Name Function Qty Processing/ Storage Capacity Power rating (kW) # of subscribers (2021)
Mbadede, Benue State Hammer Mill with Cyclone Multipurpose mill for yam, cassava, soy beans, maize, spices 1 2Ton/Hr 5.5kW with soft starters 2160
Cassava Grater Grates Cassava for Garri 1 1Ton/Hr 1.5kW 2160
Garri Sieve Sieves Garri 1 1Ton/Hr 1.5kW 2160
Garri Communal Fryer Commercial Garri frying 1 500kg/Hr N/A 2160
Garri Hydraulic Press Eliminating liquid content from grated cassava 1 500kg/day N/A 2160
Refrigerators Storage of milk and meat 2 2x300L 250W 2
Solar powered water pump and storage tanks Pumps and stores water for irrigation and domestic use 1 5m3/Hr, 10,000L 750W 3123
Jera Bakari, Adamawa State Maize Thresher Removes maize from cobs 2 1 Ton/Hr 1.5kW 1362
Rice Dehusker Eliminates rice husks 2 1 Ton/Hr 5.5kW with soft starter 1362
Refrigerators Storage of milk and meat 2 2x300L 250W 4
Solar powered water pump and storage tanks Pumps and stores water for irrigation and domestic use 1 5m3/Hr, 10,000L 750W 3820


The project also embodied a clear gender strategy as the project team looked to break from the cultural norm of women under-representation in community renewable energy projects or economic activities. It was important to set clear gender targets at the inception phase of the project and share details with leaders and member of the communities during stakeholder engagements and town halls. The following gender targets were successfully implemented across both communities:

50% of all direct employees at the hubs are women
50% of all Solar Home System Beneficiaries are women
Village Power Committees at both communities are comprised of women representatives


Solar Home Systems were distributed based on ability to afford.  As a result of the level of affordability of the communities the user categories were subjected to the following terms:

A summary of the beneficiaries of the various project components over a period of one month is contained in Table 3.


Table 3: Project Beneficiaries (disaggregated by sex, gender and component)

Indicator Indicator description Indicator Categories Male Female Other Total
Electricity Access
Number of individuals with electricity access Individuals who access electricity through Solar Home Systems or Directly from the Hub Children (0 – 9 years) 351 401 0 752
Adolescents (10 – 19 years) 389 113 0 502
Adults (20 – 49 years) 101 122 0 223
Adults (50+ years) 92 105 0 197
Access to agricultural processing and storage equipment
Number of small holder farmers with access to productive use equipment from host or neighbouring communities Individuals that have utilized processing or storage equipment at least once (including individuals from neighbouring communities) Children (0 – 9 years) 0 0 0 0
Adolescents (10 – 19 years) 528 423 0 951
Adults (20 – 49 years) 1127 986 0 2113
Adults (50+ years) 282 176 0 458
Water Access
Number of individuals who have accessed water through the productive use hub Individuals who have come to collect water from the hub at least once Children (0 – 9 years) 764 417 0 1180
Adolescents (10 – 19 years) 833 1597 0 2430
Adults (20 – 49 years) 694 2361 0 3055
Adults (50+ years) 69 208 0 278
Market Access
Number of small holder farmers with access to off-takers through the Farm Warehouse App and Web Portal Individuals that have listed their products or signed up to the Farm Warehouse Application Children (0 – 9 years) 0 0 0 0
Adolescents (10 – 19 years) 0 0 0 0
Adults (20 – 49 years) 0 0 0 0
Adults (50+ years) 0 0 0 0
Number of new Direct jobs created Number of individuals employed directly by the hub e.g. Machine operators, security personnel, etc Children (0 – 9 years) 0 0 0 0
Adolescents (10 – 19 years) 0 0 0 0
Adults (20 – 49 years) 7 8 0 15
Adults (50+ years) 3 2 0 5
Number of new indirect jobs created Number of individuals employed indirectly (including workers engaged directly for produce peeling, washing, bagging etc) Children (0 – 9 years) 0 0 0 0
Adolescents (10 – 19 years) 6 24 0 29
Adults (20 – 49 years) 65 123 0 188
Adults (50+ years) 47 29 0 76


The project has recorded the following users to date:

Table 4: User categories

User Category Number of users on-boarded (month one)
Residential Users 180
Commercial Users 20
Productive users (Productive use hub subscribers) 3552
Water access subscribers 6943
Column 1 Value 5 5


The Financial returns and projections were modelled across both communities based on the following number of users and user categories that recorded usage in the first month of deployment:

Table 5: Financial summary and projections

Month 1 2 3 4 5
Power sold (kWh) 3237.50 3237.50 3237.50 3237.50 3237.50
Residential 1039.5 1039.5 1039.5 1039.5 1039.5
Commercial 300 300 300 300 300
Productive 2198.00 2198.00 2198.00 2198.00 2198.00
Tariffs ($)
Residential Tariff ($) 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45
Commercial Tariff ($) 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45
Productive Tariff ($) 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25
ARPU ($)
ARPU Households ($) 2.60 2.60 2.60 2.60 2.60
ARPU Commercial ($) 6.75 6.75 6.75 6.75 6.75
**ARPU Productive 54.95 54.95 54.95 54.95 54.95
Total ARPU/month 64.30 64.30 64.30 64.30 64.30
Average Investment Per User (AIPU) ($) 28.81 28.81 28.81 28.81 28.81
Power Sales ($) 1152.28 1152.28 1152.28 1152.28 1152.28
Connection Fees ($) 560
+Productive Use Equipment ($) 914.29 914.29 914.29 914.29 914.29
Water Access
Total 2626.56 2066.56 2066.56 2066.56 2066.56

**Refers to average revenue from electricity sales for productive use equipment

+ Refers to income from use of productive agricultural equipment


The project has already received acceptance at the community level as well as other levels of government. Water was made available for free at the hub to improve WASH at the communities while providing traffic to advertise the other business activities.

The second phase of the project looks to address some of the additional challenges that the communities have expressed including:

Mobility: Movement of agricultural produce to access points or major markets
Extension services: Provision of a platform that can guarantee trade and ensure off-take

A partnership with agricultural extension firm, Farm Warehouse, has been established to provide e-commerce services for smallholder farmers in rural offgrid communities where Prado Power has established its minigrids and productive use hubs. The company would also provide services such as access to improved seedlings, fertilizers, insurance services, microcredits, temporary storage and electric mobility solutions to convey produce to nearby markets or pick up points.

Due to the resounding success of the solution, Prado Power has been engaged by the governments of Akwa Ibom and Enugu States to replicate the model across 60 communities, while Prado Power has developed a portfolio of projects in rural communities in Niger, Plateau and Borno States where agriculture is prevalent and energy access is largely non-existent.