Agriculture remains critical for livelihoods and food security in South Asia. Over the last 50 years, agriculture in the region has become more energy-intensive due to the rapid proliferation of groundwater irrigation. The region is home to nearly 25-30 million agricultural pumps, the largest worldwide. These pumps, powered by either dirty diesel or electricity, have been critical for enhancing agricultural production and supporting livelihoods, but cause substantial carbon emissions in the process. Replacing these fossil fuel-based pumps with solar irrigation pumps (SIPs) is an effective mitigation strategy. While agriculture is a source of emissions that causes climate change, the sector is also highly exposed and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. As such, climate action in agriculture needs strategies that combine adaptation and mitigation actions. Just Energy Transition is one such strategy, which involves moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, while not compromising the adaptive capacity of the farmers.
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), with other partner organizations, is hosting a Regional Knowledge Forum on Energizing Agriculture and Enabling Just Energy Transitions in South Asia. This event is a part of IWMI’s project titled Solar Irrigation for Agricultural Resilience in South Asia (SoLAR), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).