Woman in traditional African clothes picking leaves from a plant

Energy Opportunities for Agriculture Systems and Food Security

Solutions to food security challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) should consider the complex interrelationships of value chains, social and gender dynamics, and enabling environment factors: detailing post-harvest inefficiencies and improving the nexus between agriculture and energy systems that link farms to consumers.  The need for reliable distribution, storage, and processing facilities is creating new energy markets within agricultural value chains and food systems.  Under USAID’s Energy Opportunities for Agriculture Systems and Food Security Project (E4AS) (2017-2018), a team of energy and agriculture and market systems experts, respectively from Green Powered Technology and ACDI VOCA, worked with USAID program offices and mission representatives in Senegal and Kenya to identify key challenges and opportunities related to access, efficiency, and reliability of energy in agriculture processes that bridge rural agriculture production and urban food demand.  E4AS examined these opportunities though an energy-food-social-market systems lens and combined extensive research and literature review with case study site visits and stakeholder consultations in Senegal and Kenya.  The E4AS teamed examined three key questions:

  • What are the key opportunities to increase energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) within the agricultural value chains that bridge rural production and urban food demand or export markets?
  • How can these opportunities be integrated into policy, partnerships, and planning?
  • What role can these opportunities for low-carbon energy use in post-harvest agriculture systems play in achieving a country’s low emission development goals?


Energy opportunities, and other value chain upgrades, could potentially impact women, both for good and for bad.