Profile: Samwel Baruti – East Africa

Sunday September 10th, 2017 - Smart Villages

9. SamwelWhat is your off-grid energy business?
i. Drying fruits using solar oven
ii. Solar power in the agricultural sector.

Can you give a brief overview?
i. In Tanzania there’s no fruit preserving
factory, which means fruits gets destroyed
easily by either for not being consumed for
long time or by climatic conditions such as
high temperature. Thus, The Idea is
basically to help prevent fruits spoilage by
drying them using a solar oven which itself is environmental friendly, the
dried fruits are added with natural flavors such as salt and peppers. Then we package them ready to sell. The products can be used by anybody but
to start the target groups are children and students. Dried fruits can live
for a very long time, and thus saving the farmers from getting loss at the
same time giving them revenues from sells. As the business grows, the
products will increase, such as vegetables and nuts will also be made.

i. I’m thinking of renewable energy in agriculture system.
Recently in the world there has been increasingly changes in climatic
conditions which hinders development in agricultural sector. In our
country, agriculture still depends on seasons , with the modern
technology we don’t need to be depending on rainfall in agriculture, I was
thinking if there was a possibility we could work together to find a way we
could generate off-grid energy power solutions in agricultural sector, that
could be installing large solar panels in farms or wind energy that would
transform us from classical time of depending rainfall to the modern
era of irrigation systems where we are sure and certain of getting
enough harvest for food and business. The idea is to employ many
youths around the country because we all know when agriculture is
conducted properly in terms management and methodology, it results in
greater yields

What inspired you to start working in off-grid energy?  Are there any key people
who inspired you to work in this area?

I think the passion to help people and hunger for success are among factors
inspired me to work on off-grid track. But to be honest CDI made me realize the
opportunities available in off-grid track, I believe the impact you guys have
brought will continue inspiring many people and realize the potential of this
sector.

Have you lived in an off-grid community?  If the answer is yes, what is something
you want people with reliable energy to know about growing up off-grid?
Yes, I have.
Off –grid energy can be reliable too. Many of them are environmentally friendly,
their production does not produce poison to our environments like the grid power
does, you could use solar cooker instead of gas banner which produces ashes
and smoke, and they produce enough energy just like grid systems. Off-grid
energy is growing really fast not just in our country, but worldwide and it brings
opportunities along with it. It is very expensive to use generator for water
pumping in irrigation, but with solar power installed within your farm, you could do
it for many years, it will only cost you once.

What is the most important thing you have learnt so far by being on the off-grid
energy track?
I have learnt many things really, getting to know the sector in details, getting
enough information about availability, usage, efficiency and management of
resources. The site visits and community visits were so important in learning
about the challenges facing society which I now look them as opportunities to
solve problems but also as a business which can employ people from different
disciplines and hence improve our social and economic wellbeing.

What are some of the challenges you have faced when coming up with an off-
grid energy business?
Since I didn’t have enough information about the off-grid energy track, it was very
challenging to design a proper business idea with little information about this
track. But to get the feeling of how people are suffering due to lack of power I
think it would be better if next time you could change environment, maybe
another region, was suggesting the Coastal region, which is just near Dar es
Salaam so the cost wouldn’t be much expensive.