Sunday, January 24, 2016
Tanzania’s rural life to slightly improve
Life is set to improve 10,000 families living in rural Tanzania in the next two years following commencement of a multi-billion Tanzania Domestic Biogas Programme (TDBP) project effective this month, courtesy of the Dutch and Tanzanian government. The scheme launched by the Tanga Regional Commissioner (RC) Mwantumu Mahiza at Boza village, Pangani District in Tanga Region on Thursday will build for individual clients modern, affordable and environment friendly biogas plants at a cost of only Sh960,000 following a discount of Sh240,000 in the first six-month period ending in June. The Tanzanian government through its Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has injected over Sh3bn into the Sh9bn project whose difference was shared by the Dutch government through the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) and whose biogas plant construction costs expected to be partially contributed by individual beneficiaries. “I am sure the life standard of those setting out to embrace the programme will definitely improve, given the big money involved in the project, REA and SNV commitment to execute it and the rural residents’ desire to exploit benefits from biogas plants,” Mahiza said. She challenged rural residents across the country into taking advantage of the six-month Sh240,000 discount, courtesy of REA to install biogas plants in their households. “You have to grab this opportunity of Sh240,000 REA has facilitated, for if you fail to make use of it within the six-month period effective this January, the discount may be slowly reduced,” she told the villagers. But the Dutch and the Tanzanian governments are not alone in the rural electrification endeavour as the Dutch Development Cooperation (DDV) also has forged credit line venture with Tanga Diary Cooperative Union (TDCU) through launching a Euro100,000 (Sh230m) Biogas Credit Revolving Fund (BCRF) to offer soft loans dairy farmers wishing to acquire biogas plants in Tanga Region. “By launching the Credit Fund the dairy farmers in the region will now have double advantages. One, out of the discount and two, a soft loan to be paid gradually from farmer’s produces,” said RC Mahiza, adding; “This is a perfect development financing model for our disadvantaged farmers and peasants, marking a revolution in both biogas and dairy industries.”
Water shortage is still a perennial problem in most rural areas in Tanzania
The TDBP Coordinator who also represented the Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Rural Technology (CAMARTEC) at the event, Lehada Shila hailed the move as significant in both protecting the environment and fighting the adamant rural poverty. “The launching of the TDBP phase two has been made possible by a massive success achieved by the phase one drive in which more than 12,000 biogas plants were built across the country with Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Tanga, Kagera, Njombe and Iringa taking a lion’s share,” she said. “Now in phase two, we are not only going to increase the seal and speed to implement the project, but we have already managed to come up with a new, more technologically viable biogas plant with several advantages to a farmer,” she said. Commenting on the project, TDCU Chairman Salim K Rajab said TDBP has proved to be a dairy farmers’ ally in fighting poverty and in search for reliable and clean source of domestic energy. “With a biogas plant you gain several benefits including that of lighting your home with cheap, clean and reliable biogas bulb, turning animal wastes into animal food, farm manure leading to increased farm harvest. What else do you demand out of such a profitable venture!” she said expressing admiration on the move. She was backed by Martijn Veen, the SNV Sector leader, who said even the liquid left-over from biogas process used as an organic fertilizer to increase crop production, is bound to boost farmers’ income and at the same time contribute to environmental sustainability. He said biogas plant provides a sustainable opportunity for individual households with livestock to reduce dependency on firewood and fossil fuels, and to benefit from modern and clean energy as a biogas digester converts the dung from livestock into biogas, which is used for cooking and lighting. A quick tour to Elibariki Kishia (74), a resident of Boza villager, who built his biogas plant several years ago with support from the TDBP showed how his then investment of roughly Sh600, 000 shillings has transformed his economic and living standards into phenomenal heights. “Through the biogas plant I generate power to light my house, energy to cook, manage to save forests and retire my wife and grand children from firewood collection and use the wastes and leftovers as manure, animal feeds and even as insect repellents,” the elder said. TDBP started operations in 2009, as part of the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP). ABPP is a joint venture between the Netherlands Directorate for Development Cooperation (DGIS), the Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (Hivos) and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV). The programme aims at initiating and assisting large-scale dissemination of domestic biogas in Tanzania, through a market-based approach. TDBP is hosted in the Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Rural Technology (CAMARTEC), a parastatal under the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Marketing, based in Arusha.