Renewable Energy for Smallholders

Agriculture is a continuous process of energy conversion. One of the forms of energy conversion is from solar to food, feed, and fiber through photosynthesis. Old agricultural techniques consisted of scattering seeds often unevenly, resulting in an unprepared field. On the other hand, modern agriculture utilizes a well-planned energy application for achieving desirable results. Pakistan is a water- and energy-scarce country and both are very important in agricultural production. Agriculture is considered the backbone of the country’s economy, contributing 21% to its GDP, accounting for nearly 43.7% of its workforce, and providing a livelihood to more than 67% of its population. Water and energy conservation plans are directly related to poverty reduction and living standards.

Indicators of agricultural growth are often spared the relative success of livestock, fisheries, and secondary crops. The variation in these numbers is not a good indicator of the production of crops due to the numerous forces that affect commodity prices and the market. The increase in added value (after considering the direct and indirect costs) is unstable, due mainly to major crops such as wheat, rice, sugarcane, gram, and maize. The agricultural sector of Pakistan is mainly dependent on fossil fuel inputs through fertilizers, pesticides, and mechanization, which is a global trend. The years 1960 and 1970 were marked by a significant increase in productivity due to improved varieties, such as oil-containing fertilizers and pesticides, irrigation, and diesel tractors.

Pakistan increased from 36,000 in the years 1960-1963 to 326,000 tonnes in the years 1970-1973 and it went up to 876,000 tonnes in the years 1980-1983. Energy analysis is not new to agriculture. The literature shows a significant amount of research on energy analysis, especially for crops (ethanol) such as sugarcane, wheat, maize, and rice. Many authors have performed energy analyses on agricultural systems. Due to the growing population, the food demand is increasing, and to fulfill that agricultural production increased aggressively, in turn increasing the demand for energy in direct and indirect ways. The primary goals of sustainable agriculture include:

  • Providing a more profitable farm income;
  • promoting environmental stewardship, including:

– protecting and improving soil quality;

–reducing dependence on non-renewable resources, such as
fuel and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides; and

–minimizing adverse impacts on safety, wildlife, water
quality and other environmental resources;

  • promoting stable, prosperous farm families and communities.

We have been promoting renewable energy readily accessible to all, helping to end extreme poverty and mitigate climate change.


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