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Seychelles to conduct tech assessments for agrivoltaics for crop production

Victoria, Seychelles | March 6, 2024, Wednesday @ 09:18 in National » GENERAL | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 4444
Seychelles to conduct tech assessments for agrivoltaics for crop production

Agrivoltaics is the practice of putting solar panels over crops. (Asurnipal, Wiki Commons) Photo Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0

(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles intends to implement more technology into the agricultural sector and has joined two other African countries, South Africa and Zambia, to take part in a pilot project.

A collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the project aims to promote technology assessment (TA) in the energy and agricultural sectors in Africa.

In Seychelles, after a comprehensive review of national development plans and the technological landscape, it has been decided that the focus of the technology assessment will be on agrivoltaics for controlled-environment crop production.

Agrivoltaics is the practice of putting solar panels over crops. This technology combines, on the one hand, the simultaneous use of land for both agriculture and photovoltaic power generation and, on the other hand, the cultivation of crops in total isolation from the external environment. The technology holds the potential to ensure the availability of freshly grown vegetable crops throughout the year.

This is a tool used for making strategic choices about the procurement, development, introduction, and governance of new technologies. It entails critical and participatory evaluation of the social, economic and environmental benefits and risks of a particular technology.

With the aim to get the input of stakeholders in the validation process, the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry in collaboration with UNCTAD, is organising a joint national validation workshop. This workshop will provide stakeholders with a platform to offer feedback on the technical assessment report and action plan and validate them before they are finalised and launched.

A joint validation workshop was organised to get the input of stakeholders. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

During her address at the opening ceremony, the Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry, Devika Vidot, said, "TA is a vital process often neglected due to a lack of capabilities and institutions. To my understanding, the TA methodology involves innovative and evolving approaches, going beyond traditional assessments to focus on the impacts and possible systemic effects of technologies. Therefore, we are comforted that all the unique attributes of Seychelles will be carefully taken into consideration."

She added, "We look forward to learning from all the different key activities, including the creation of a methodology paper for technology assessment, followed by regional workshops, reports and national action plans."

Vidot said that this project will help contribute to the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly to Goal 2 -Zero Hunger, Goal 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy, and Goal 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.

The person in charge of science, technology and innovation for development at UNCTAD, Liping Zhang said, "This technology has a big potential for Seychelles, which has limited arable land, this type of technology can help overcome that shortcoming. Technology plays a big role in advancing progress, so it can help the country in building resilience."

Meanwhile, the director general of the Division of Science, Technology and Innovation, Cynthia Alexander, said, "The exercise aims to learn and build our capacity, to make sure we have the in-built capacity to assess new technology that is coming in because as a small island developing state, not all technologies might be fruitful for us. So, it is important to be able to differentiate. We can use this methodology for other new technology from other sectors also."

The principal secretary for investment, entrepreneurship and Industry, Michael Nalletamby, told reporters that after the validation workshop, a pilot project will be done for the agrivoltaic project to further assess whether it is a good fit for Seychelles. 

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Tags: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, agrivoltaic

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