Tanga. The governments of Tanzania, Norway and the Netherlands have jointly committed a total of Sh9 billion to implement a two-year Tanzania Domestic Biogas Project (TDBP) that will cover rural areas throughout the country.
The project, being implemented through the Arusha-based TDBP, targets the designing, building and installation of 10,000 biogas plants by the time the project comes to an end in December 2017.
The TDBP is hosted at the Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation and Rural Technology (Camartec).
Tanzania and Norway have injected a total of Sh3.065 billion while the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) has released Sh6 billion, the SNV Sector Leader for Renewable Energy, Martijn Veen, said during an event to officially launch the programme at Boza Village in Pangani District, Tanga Region, earlier this week.
The TDBP is implemented through the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme, which is managed by the Netherlands-based humanity organisation Hivos.
By making the much-needed energy available to rural folks, the project will uplift their economic lives. It will also help to protect the environment through reducing the felling of trees for firewood and production of charcoal.
TDBP has been implemented since 2009 and until 2015, over 12,000 biogas plants were built across the country, benefitting 70,000 people.
“This was why TDBP built confidence in Rea [the rural energy agency] that saw the Norwegian Embassy and the Dutch Government to commit funds for further scaling of the TDBP,” he said.
Officiating at the event, the Tanga Regional Commissioner, Ms Mwamtumu Mahiza, said taking serious through proper, effective and aggressive management, the revolution of biogas technology will radically improve economic lives of rural folks.
“Who does not know the long list of benefits accrued out of a cow dung processed by a biogas plant?,” enquired Ms Mahiza in a speech that was read on her behalf by the Pangani District Fisheries and Livestock Officer, Archie Mntambo,.
Cow dung provides manure for farms. It also provides energy house lighting and cooking as well repellents for mosquitoes and other harmful insects. Once processed in the biogas plant, cow dung can be used to feed other domesticated animals.
Ms Mahiza encouraged rural dwellers across the country to take advantage of the biogas project and buy the plants at a discounted price of Sh240,000, courtesy of Rea’s subsidy.
“Take advantage of the Sh240, 000 of Rea facilitated discount…normally, the same could cost 20 per cent more,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Development Cooperation and the Tanga Dairy Cooperative Union (TDCU) are also promoting a Biogas Credit Revolving Fund (BCRF) with a euro 100, 000, (about Sh230 million) capital. The fund will offer soft loans for dairy farmers in the region to acquire biogas plants.
Ms Mahiza termed this as double advantage to dairy farmers.
“By launching the BCRF it means the dairy farmers in the region will have a double advantage….It gives a perfect development financing model for our disadvantaged farmers and peasants in the country,” she said.
On his part, the TDBP Coordinator who doubled as the Camartec representative at the event, Mr Lehada Shila, hailed the move, saying it is crucial in protecting the environment and fighting the adamant rural poverty.