The African Biodigester Component programme (ABC) supports the growth and sustainability of the biodigester market in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Uganda. Esther Nyanzi, Project Manager for ABC, explains what the programme is doing in Uganda.
How do biodigesters contribute to a better life in Uganda?
"Households use the biogas from biodigesters for cooking. As a result, they do not have to search for firewood. This means that farmers have more time for farming and other activities.
Biodigesters also produce bio-slurry, which the farmers use as an organic fertiliser. This improves soil fertility and increases crop yields. That helps increase incomes, which then contributes to growing prosperity. In urban areas, biodigesters are a form of waste management. Farmers can use biodigesters to dispose of animal manure and get biogas and bio-slurry in return."
How do farmers use bio-slurry, and what are the benefits?
"Bio-slurry has many benefits. It helps increase soil fertility, farmers can use it to supplement animal feed, and it can partially replace non-organic fertilisers. Currently, many farmers are not familiar with the benefits. With the ABC programme, we promote the effective use of bio-slurry and encourage innovation."
What are the biodigester market's main obstacles?
- "High purchase costs: it is precisely the low-income groups we aim to help with the ABC programme that cannot pay for a biodigester in one instalment. We advocate for payment schemes, such as payment in instalments.
- Limited capacity of biodigester companies: the range of biodigesters and appliances available can be improved. But first, biodigester companies need to grow financially and develop professionally. Also, they need more technical knowledge.
- Low awareness: there is still a knowledge gap on biodigester technology and its benefits among farmers. Ultimately, the entire agricultural sector needs to be aware of the benefits."
What are the lessons learnt from the ABC programme so far?
"Promoting biodigesters only works if existing users are positive about the technology. They are our best ambassadors. Most technical problems are due to a lack of biodigester use and maintenance knowledge. That is why we advocate for training the users."
Why are you so committed to developing the biodigester market?
"Uganda's forested areas and climate are under pressure from deforestation. Biodigesters can help reduce deforestation and preserve green landscapes. They also significantly contribute to improved crop yields and thus safeguard people's livelihoods. This greatly improves food security."
What results does the programme need to achieve before you are satisfied?
"I will be satisfied when everyone views biogas and bio-slurry as ideal sustainable alternatives to firewood and fertiliser. When biodigester enterprises operate independently. When farmers embrace the technology and make money from it. And, when banks and investors consider the market profitable, making it easier for users to gain access to finance."
African Biodigester Component
ABC is part of the Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Clean Cooking Programme. ABC activities are carried out in partnership with the Energising Development (EnDev) programme.
For more information about ABC, visit the ABC page or email email@example.com.