Biogas Project in Tanzania
In the non-urban areas of Tanzania, 80% of the population cooks over an open fire and is therefore dependant on wood (or charcoal) as a fuel for cooking. This is about 30 million people. Cooking over an open fire is inefficient and causes several problems including deforestation, smoke in the house and health issues. Tanzanian women often need to travel great distances to collect scarce wood. This causes unsafe situations as well as physical problems that come from carrying wood on their backs. And the time that the process takes cannot be spent with the family, at work or on education.
Biogas Project in Tanzania
Hivos, in cooperation with SNV Netherlands, introduced the bio-digesters to Africa several years ago with the ‘Africa Biogas Partnership Programme’ (ABPP). The project uses the expertise gained from the bio-digester projects in Asia to help Africa also begin the transition to clean energy. It stimulates the transition from cooking over an open fire to the use of biogas. After being introduced in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, the programme has now also started in Tanzania, where rural farmers often have a small amount of livestock in addition to their agricultural holding. It seems simple, but the transition from cooking over an open fire to cooking with gas is a big step. Not only is there the investment in the bio-digester, but cooking over an open fire is strongly embedded in the culture and family life. By using local information campaigns on the benefits of biogas as opposed to cooking over an open fire, the project in Tanzania is also gaining ground.
How does it work?
The biogas technology provides farming families with clean fuel for cooking. The bio-digester produces fertile, organic remains (slurry) that can be used as fertilizer on the farm. The digesters save fuel costs and reduce the workload of collecting firewood. In addition, biogas is a replacement for the use of increasingly scarce firewood and reduces deforestation. The gas can also be used for lighting. Many families now have no light in the evening or have only kerosene lanterns. The project also provides local employment, directly and indirectly. The project has now made it possible for more than 12,000 families in Tanzania to use biogas produced from the manure of their cattle, which saves them a substantial amount of time in gathering wood and saves them the cost of firewood, charcoal, kerosene and artificial fertilizer. That money can now be invested in education, food and their own farms. In addition, there is a new industry sector for biogas operators and bricklayers. Women indicate that “cooking with gas is much faster”. The farmers are also happy with the by-product: “the ‘slurry’ is a good fertilizer for our rice and vegetables”. And of course there is a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions.
The African Biogas Partner Programme is run by Hivos and supported by SNV, a Dutch development organization. It was launched with various subsidies, with the aim of making the project self-supporting over a number of years using carbon financing. In June 2015, the Hivos Climate Fund was able to have the project officially certified by the Gold Standard developed by the WWF. The biogas programme will now be made possible by the sale of these CO2 credits. This guarantees sustainable progress and the continuation of the project and the employment it generates.
- One biogas installation saves an average of 8.5 tonnes of CO2 and 4,667 kg of wood per year
- The installation provides clean fuel
- It improves the living conditions on the farms
- It saves more than 1,500 hectares of forest
- It reduces CO2 and methane
Social and Health
- Biogas lanterns provide more light in the house
- Women save time because they no longer have to collect wood and because they can cook faster
- Biogas causes 100% less indoor air pollution
- There is less chance of pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer
- There is improved hygiene because of the availability of toilets
- There are cost savings for wood, charcoal and artificial fertilizer
- There have been 91 permanent jobs created in Tanzania and about 300 bricklayers have regular work thanks to building bio-digesters for this project
- The project improves agriculture through the use of the fertile, organic “slurry”
- There is less depletion of the land because less artificial fertilizer is used
- There is more time for women to take on paid work