Kilombero to secure rice-husk fired power

Tanzania is set to become the first country in Africa to have rice-husks fired power generators, thanks to financial boost from Britain to facilitate implementation of the project.

The 6.7 million pounds (about 17bn/-) project co-financed by UK and Kilombero Plantations Limited (KPL) is set to increase KPL output by irrigating sugarcane plantations.

The UK's Secretary of State, International Department, Ms Justine Greening said the project aims at addressing poor infrastructure facing the KPL largest rice producer in East Africa.

"This will allow business to overcome lack of proper public infrastructure," Ms Greening said during jointly launching of alternative market and prosperity partnership.

The gasifier system uses rice husk as input fuel and converted into clean combustible gas by partial oxidation process. The clean gaseous fuel are firing gas generator to produce electricity.

The technology is said to be cheaper than solar power. The project is designed to use the rice husk from KPL, a subsidiary of Agrica UK Ltd. which develop close to 6,000 hectares to produce electricity. The firm works with over 5,000 smallholders farmers in Mngeta.

The firm invested over 30 million US dollars since 2005 to date on land clearance, leveling and preparation, 6,200m3 warehouse and rice mill and 2,000 tonne automated cleaning and drying facility.

Meanwhile, The Agrica UK Managing Director Carter Coleman said KPL made a loss of 2.4 million dollars (about 3.84bn/-) last year when was about to break even, after the government allowed untaxed imported rice to the economy.

"This policy affects our operation substantially," Mr Coleman told the Prime Minister who was the chief guest for launching twin event to boost trade and investment between UK and Tanzania. 

The MD wanted the government's assurance that the occurrence would not reoccur to safeguard local investments.

The Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Eng Christopher Chiza said the government has cancelled rice importation order after realizing that farmers are unable to sell their produce.

"We have halted the order after only permitting 60,000 out of 120,000 (metric) tonnes, we wanted to suppress the prices the goal was met (thus) canceling the directive." Eng Chiza said.

The PM Mr Mizengo Pinda said the government wanted to deal with galloping inflation that rocked the country between 2011 and 2012 as price was skyrocketing.

"Sometimes the problem is some cereal traders who are hoarding stocks waiting price to appreciate, this give us headache," Mr Pinda said.

In the future, according to PM, this may not happen since the government has resolved not to ban cereal especially maize and rice exports so long as farmers and traders adhered to the law of the land.
Source: Daily News, reported by Abduel Elinaza from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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