The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and SNV Netherlands Development Organisations (SNV) Uganda have today launched the Africa Biodigester Component (ABC) project which aims to boost access to biodigesters for circular agriculture and renewable energy.
The four-year project is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).
The project worth 3.7m euros targets the installation of at least 8,000 small-scale biodigesters across Uganda, providing energy access for at least 40,000 people.
Speaking during the launch in Entebbe, SNV Uganda Country Director, Phomolo Maphosa, said the energy sector is still dominated by solid biomass, mainly in form of firewood and charcoal, which contributes 88.6% of the country’s consumable energy.
“Biodigesters offer increased benefits in the form of clean energy for cooking, and organic fertilizers for agricultural production, which will mitigate against the effects of deforestation and soil degradation,” she said.
Joost van Ettro, Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kampala, revealed that at the current rate of deforestation, in 25 years, Uganda will have very few trees left.
“Interventions such as the ABC project are, therefore, critical if we are to retain our biodiversity.”
He reaffirmed the commitment of the Netherlands to work with the Government of Uganda toward this important objective.
ABC Uganda aims to promote the scaling of biodigester technology towards agricultural value chains, both tangible in terms of increased agricultural production, and more intangible benefits such as reducing exposure to indoor air pollution, long-term soil improvement, water retention capacity and carbon capture.
To achieve this, the ABC project will adopt information and awareness-raising, Business Development Support to biodigester companies and strengthening the biodigester business model for end-users.
Furthermore, the project will support government and Sector Institutions in developing an enabling environment that stimulates the involvement of the private sector.
All these will provide communities with renewable energy, agriculture, health, employment and environment benefits, such as the production of bio-slurry as organic fertilizer, job creation, improved livelihood, and reduced environmental pollution.
The project will explore commercialization of bio-slurry as organic fertilizer to increase farm output as well as creating new revenue streams for biodigester owners.
In his remarks, Peter Lokeris, State Minister for Mineral Development, appreciated SNV and the ABC consortium for supporting the government’s Biomass strategy to promote modern technologies for cooking.
He said the project will also reinforce the government’s initiatives in achieving its National Development Plan (NDP) III targets to increase access to clean cooking and reduce the demand for firewood and charcoal while creating employment for Ugandans.
Meanwhile, Dr Brian Isabirye, who represented the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD), emphasized the importance of the innovation-led approach in addition to technology transfer in bolstering the bio digester market.
“Political leadership is counting on ABC leadership to provide guidance, support and evidence to support the government in delivering the much-needed social outcomes,” he said.
The project is implemented as a joint effort by a consortium of SNV, German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and Biogas Solution Uganda Limited (BSUL) in co-development support of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).
SNV, as lead implementer will take responsibility for overall project management and stakeholder coordination and in cooperation with BSUL, for the further strengthening of demand and supply of the sector.