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134RENEWABLE ENERGY MARKET ANALYSIS: SOUTHEAST ASIA06Box 6.3 Selected examples on reduced emissions and impact on climate changeSolar power plant in Qi Palawan, a resort in the Philippines
135IMPROVED LIVELIHOODSINCOME GENERATION AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION Access to basic energy services is a prerequisite for stimulating economic activity and making progress toward SDG 1 on ending poverty in all its forms everywhere.Many Southeast Asian countries are affected by high rates of poverty. In Lao PDR, Myanmar and the Philippines more than one-fifth of the population lives under the national poverty line. People deprived of clean and affordable energy are trapped in a cycle of lower incomes and insufficient means to improve their living conditions and meet the basic human needs for food, shelter, health and education.The introduction of decentralised renewable energy solutions can generate income and help alleviate poverty by supporting the development of the local economy. In various sectors important to Southeast Asian economies (such as agriculture, fishing, tourism, and other commercial activities), reliable and affordable electricity for irrigation, cold storage, lighting, and mechanisation creates new income generating opportunities, raises productivity, improves access to markets and information, increases the local production of goods and services, and reduces transportation and logistics costs. Newly created income generating opportunities and increased productivityRenewables can boost productivity by (1) enabling the production of more and better-quality outputs and the delivery of better services, and (2) reducing the time and cost involved in doing so: nIn the agricultural sector in rural areas, local renewable energy solutions can reduce vulnerability to changing rainfall patterns by powering irrigation systems that enable advanced cropping practices and improve productivity (IRENA, 2016c). The deployment of micro-hydropower plants in Indonesia, for example, enabled the development of new businesses in egg hatchery, rice milling, coffee grinding and bread making (GIZ and NL Agency Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2013). On Sumba Iconic Island initiative in Indonesia, solar-powered water pumps transformed dry soil into six hectares of lush arable crops. The island also benefitted from the use of solar agro-processing that saved producers at least two hours on peeling and grinding corn by hand, increasing the efficiency of their operations (Case study: Sumba Iconic Island initiative in Indonesia)8. In rural Myanmar, improved and mechanised irrigation powered by a micro-hydro project helped farmers improve the quality of their yields, allowing them to start exporting to neighbouring villages and increasing their profits (Case study: Micro-hydro plant in Myanmar)9. The use of renewables can also reduce the time and cost of production across every stage of the food chain, including agro-processing.