The Africa Biodigester Component (ABC) initiative, which aims to increase access to biodigesters for circular agriculture and renewable energy, was inaugurated today by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and SNV Netherlands Development Organizations (SNV) Uganda.
The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs is funding the four-year project, which is being handled by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).
The 3.7 million euro project aims to build at least 8,000 small-scale biodigesters across Uganda, bringing energy to at least 40,000 people.
SNV Uganda Country Director Phomolo Maphosa, speaking at the inauguration in Entebbe, said the energy industry is still dominated by solid biomass, primarily in the form of firewood and charcoal, which accounts for 88.6 percent of the country’s consumable energy.
“Biodigesters provide enhanced benefits in the form of clean energy for cooking and organic fertilizers for agricultural production, reducing the consequences of deforestation and soil degradation,” she explained.
According to Joost van Ettro, Head of Cooperation at the Netherlands Embassy in Kampala, Uganda will have very few trees remaining in 25 years if the current rate of deforestation continues.
“As a result, interventions like the ABC initiative are crucial if we are to maintain our biodiversity.”
He emphasized the Netherlands’ commitment to working with Uganda’s government to achieve this essential goal.
ABC Uganda wants to see biodigester technology scaled up in agricultural value chains, with visible benefits like enhanced agricultural production and intangible benefits like reduced indoor air pollution, long-term soil development, water retention capacity, and carbon absorption.
To do this, the ABC project will leverage information and public awareness campaigns, as well as Business Development Support for biodigester enterprises and the improvement of the biodigester business model for end-users.
In addition, the project will assist the government and sector institutions in creating an enabling environment that encourages private sector participation.
All of these will help communities in terms of renewable energy, agriculture, health, employment, and the environment, such as the generation of bio-slurry as an organic fertilizer, job development, enhanced livelihood, and lower pollution levels.
The initiative will look into commercializing bio-slurry as an organic fertilizer to boost farm output while also giving biodigester owners additional cash streams.
State Minister for Mineral Development Peter Lokeris thanked SNV and the ABC consortium for supporting the government’s Biomass plan to promote contemporary cooking technology in his remarks.
He added that the project will support the government’s efforts to achieve the government’s National Development Plan (NDP) III goals of increasing access to clean cooking, reducing demand for firewood and charcoal, and creating jobs for Ugandans.
Meanwhile, Dr Brian Isabirye, who spoke on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD), stressed the necessity of an innovation-led approach as well as knowledge transfer in supporting the bio digester industry.
“Political leadership is looking to ABC leadership to provide guidance, assistance, and evidence to help the government deliver critical social goals,” he said.
The project is being carried out in collaboration by SNV, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), and Biogas Solution Uganda Limited (BSUL), with co-development support from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).
SNV, as the principal implementer, will be responsible for overall project management and stakeholder coordination, as well as for further increasing the sector’s demand and supply in collaboration with BSUL.