Government outlines steps to foster clean cooking

Energy minister January Makamba. PHOTO | FILE

Summary

  • The government is soon expected to form a taskforce for the implementation of clean cooking energy

Dar es Salaam. The government will undertake specific measures in its efforts to reduce the use of solid biomass energy for cooking as part of the initiatives to boost usage of clean cooking energy to 80 percent in ten years time.

The issues highlighted in Dar es Salaam yesterday by Energy minister January Makamba during the closure of the first clean cooking energy conference, include the baseline survey that will obtain real data related to the use of clean energy and biomass in the country and review the National Gas Utilisation Master Plan to eliminate gaps and simplify the availability of natural gas for the citizens. Mr Makamba said the ministry will also focus on awareness campaign related to the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by sitting with the stakeholders to promote the access to that energy.

“Yesterday, we were given instructions by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to form a taskforce and we will not wait,” he said adding that some of the issues must be addressed quickly.

“The team will start working immediately after this conference and complete its job within three months,” he stressed. He said the ministry will also prepare a strategy for the use of biomass.

“We have already set funds in collaboration with the European Union,” he added. The director general of the Rural Energy Agency (Rea) Hassan Saidy, said the agency in collaboration with Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) will implement a project to supply natural gas to 100,000 people in Lindi and the Coast regions. “We want to ensure that people have access to clean cooking energy. We have received Sh23 billion from both the government and the European Union to implement this project,” he said.

He added, “The government also plans to supply modern stoves. As we move towards clean energy, we will continue to use charcoal but using stoves that have been improved, so we will distribute them to the villages through subsidies,” he added.  

Meanwhile, delegates from countries that have successfully shifted from ‘dirty’ to clean energy said massive awareness campaign, subsidies, investment in gas cylinders and education for school children could help Tanzania to pursue the agenda.

Indian High Commissioner to Tanzania Mr Binaya Pradhan shared the experience of his country, saying it started the transformation to clean cooking energy seven years ago, using biomass.

After noticing the health and environmental effects, the government decided to establish a national strategy to motivate the shift from dirty energy to clean energy, he said.

“Today, almost 99 percent of households are using clean energy for cooking (LPG) and the campaign is still going on,” he said.

He said many things were done to drive the changes, including the introduction of a national awareness campaign that ensured every citizen gets the message of the effects of using dirty energy.

According to him, the government also provided subsidies to families which could not afford gas, and encouraged women to take advantage of the opportunities that come with using clean energy such as saving time.

“We need to note that giving subsidies is not the only solution because there are countries that cannot do that. The basic and big thing that can help is massive awareness campaign that would help people to understand and start moving from the use of wood and charcoal to clean energy,” he noted.

Oryx Tanzania managing director Mr Ava Benoit Araman said countries like Indonesia, India and Brazil have heavily invested in subsidies to make the clean energy strategies successful. He cited an example of Indonesia which injected $1.3 billion to support the project and help people shift to LPG.

“When we talk about the subsidies, the government must be very careful to identify specific areas,” he said.

otherwise it could make the programme fail,” he said.

He said for Tanzania to make LPG use successful, there is need to invest in cylinder production since it’s a big challenge for gas companies.

He said gas storage facilities are also needed to ensure sustainable supply and ensure every village have access to the product at affordable price.

On the other hand, the East Africa commercial director for cookstove company Burn Manufacturing, Ms Irene Kamande said the government should target more children in schools to educate future parents about clean energy.

“When the country plans to go to clean energy, the use of biomass should continue, using standardized stoves that use less charcoal and do not emit smoke,” she said.

“Under normal circumstances, moving from the use of charcoal to clean energy will take about ten years, so the short-term strategy is the use of standard stoves that Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania have started using,” she said.