Tanzania: Huge agro-waste potential is wasted

Agro-waste conversion to generate energy for productive applications remains largely untapped area that could contribute immensely in addressing insufficient electricity.

The Director of Environment in the Vice-President’s Office, Dr Julius Ningu, said this in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday at the launch of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)/Global Environmental Facility-5 project) on promotion of waste to energy for industrial application.

“Energy from agricultural waste is one of the clean, renewable and efficient energy technologies abundantly available in the country; however its share to the national grid is about 2 per cent only,” he said.

For example, an annual rice production is about 1.3 tons producing waste by-products such as rice straw, leaves and stems, rice husk, dust and other wastes that could generate up to 40 megawatts of electricity but goes untapped, he said.

Studies reveal further that a total of 22 million tons of timber produced annually of which 25 per cent are wastes could generate up to 300 megawatts.

Also manure produced from various ranches across the country can generate around 20 megawatts, he said. “All these are cost efficient energy sources preferably for supporting rural communities and agro-processing activities, thus contributing immensely in poverty alleviation,” he said.

Statistics show that around 11 per cent of rural people have access to electricity where around 70 per cent of the 45 million country’s population lives.

Also that 50 per cent of the population living in poverty spend more than 35 per cent of their household income to meet energy needs like kerosine, charcoal and dry cells.

UNIDO national project coordinator Mr Emmanuel Michael said it has been established that agriculture wastes could generate up to 650 megawatts but currently less than 40 megawatts are exploited.

“Our energy policy is good, thus resting for the state and non state actors to capitalise on the opportunity,” he said, adding that the project aims at promoting biomass waste to energy application in agroindustries to enable them utilise waste produced in their facilities to generate energy.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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