Building a distribution network for the Sunflower Solar Pump in Kenya


According to the UN FAO, lack of access to affordable irrigation is the number one factor keeping 400 million farmers in poverty.

The Sunflower Solar Pump is a simple renewable-powered irrigation device with the potential to displace millions of fossil fuel irrigation pumps globally.  For farmers who are irrigating manually or not at all, and for small commercial farmers looking for alternatives to expensive fossil fuel pumps, it offers a compelling economic case.

Following REEEP-supported field trials in Ethiopia and extensive supply chain and manufacturing research in Asia, the product is ready for marketing on a wide scale in sub-Saharan Africa.

Kenya has 2.2 million small holders farming less than two hectares, and a further 740,000 small farms of between two and 10 hectares. Burkina Faso already has a successful distribution network built for the Volanta Hand Pump that can be used for this product.


Photo (right): Nick Jeffries



To build a distribution network for the Sunflower Solar Pump in Kenya and to launch a pilot dissemination in Burkina Faso.

Main Activities

Activities are designed to reach tipping point for scale and organisational viability:

  • Establish manufacturing network in India and China, conduct test runs manufacturing runs
  • Conduct detailed market studies in Kenya, ask peer groups to review distribution strategies.
  • Develop sales and marketing materials, and manuals for assembly, maintenance and troubleshooting
  • Test out three key distribution channels: agricultural dealers, engine pump dealers and a schools-based demo programme
  • Conduct 25-unit pilot followed by a 75-unit pilot across three districts with twin-track sales support and technical support programmes
  • Launch nationally across Kenya with two tiers of distribution, aiming for volume availability by summer 2014
  • Engage with major international NGOS for extra sales


Photo (left): Nick Jeffries


Expected Impact

  • 5,000 pumps sold by 2015, and 30,000 units sold by 2018
  • Farmers substituting this pump should achieve an average net benefit of  US$1,299 annually
  • 56,000 tons of CO2 to be displaced over the project duration
  • Higher income for smallholder farmers, who can irrigate and sell during the dry season
  • Scalable distribution model developed which will open up other sources of finance, and ultimately be self-supporting
BF/Burkina Faso, KE/Kenya
Programme sector
RE & EE (Business & Finance)
2013 - 2015
€826,480 including co-funding from AECF and private angel investors
Implementing agency
Sunflower Pump Ltd
REEEP grant funded by
REEEP grant funded by
United Kingdom