THE Embassy of Sweden has signed an agreement with SNV (Dutch NGO) to promote the use of biogas for agricultural production in dairy and livestock farming, and for household cooking in areas not served by the national electricity grid.
The collaboration with SNV is part of a broader Swedish strategy for development co-operation with Zambia, for the period 2013-2017, that will amount to K1.80 billion (SEK 1.75 billion). The strategy covers three thematic areas: health, governance and economic development, within which energy falls.
Swedish embassy national programme officer-energy and environment Malama Chileshe said the programme will support generation of renewable energy from a number of sources, including solar, mini-hydro and gas.
He said the objective is to contribute to the transition to a sustainable, green and more diverse energy mix in the country that also benefits the poorest.
Mr Chileshe said the specific biogas project with SNV will be implemented over a three-year period, and supports the construction of 3,375 bio digesters in Southern, Lusaka, Western, Central, Northern, Eastern and Copperbelt provinces.
“The choice of the target areas was based on the feasibility study that SNV conducted in 2012 on the potential of biogas in Zambia,” he said.
He said the expected beneficiaries from this intervention are farmers, households and entrepreneurs.
“It is expected that dairy farmers will be able to utilise biogas as a fuel for powering milk chillers thereby enabling them to store milk overnight. This will lead to improved incomes for the farmers. Farmers are also expected to increase the number of livestock by using biogas to power incubators, as well as increase their crop yields, through the use of the bio slurry,” Mr Chileshe said.
He said households will also be able to use biogas for cooking.
“Substitution of charcoal/firewood with biogas for cooking will contribute to the health of women and children who are the ones mostly spending time in the kitchen and thereby getting exposed to gaseous emissions that come from charcoal and firewood,” Mr Chileshe said.
He said rolling out the programme will require capacitating companies dealing in biogas in terms of building quality biogas digesters.
“SNV estimates the project will train about 300 artisans in construction of biogas digesters. The programme will establish a Biogas Support Unit whose role is to guide and support the development of the biogas sector ensuring optimum conditions, and an enabling environment for the development of a healthy and sustainable biogas market,” Mr Chileshe said.