In East Africa, Sh9 billion ($411,3720m) has been earmarked for biogas plants by the governments of Tanzania, Netherlands and Norway. The funds are for the implementation of a two-year Tanzania Domestic Biogas Project (TDBP) aimed at rural communities across the country.
The Citizen reported that TDBP is targeting to design, build as well as install 10,000 biogas plants by the end of 2017.
The project to be implemented through the Arusha-based TDBP at the centre for agricultural mechanisation and rural technology is being managed by the Netherlands-based humanity organisation, Hivos.
12,000 biogas plants
Speaking at the official launch of the programme in Tanga region, Martijn Veen from the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) said Tanzania and Norway have provided a total of Sh3.065 billion ($140, 0950m), while SNV supported the project with Sh6 billion ($247, 2480m).
TDBP first came into operation in 2009 and has so far built over 12,000 biogas plants across the country, benefitting 70,000 people.
"This was why TDBP built confidence in REA [the rural energy agency] that saw the Norwegian Embassy and the Dutch Government to commit funds for further scaling of the TDBP," Veen said.
Biogas technology impacting rural lives
Officiating at the event, Tanga Regional Commissioner Mwamtumu Mahiza said the development of biogas technology, if managed properly and effectively, could have a radical improvement on the economic lives of rural inhabitants.
Mahiza said in her speech: "Who does not know the long list of benefits accrued out of cow dung processed by a biogas plant."
Cow dung provides energy house lighting and cooking as well repellents for mosquitoes and other harmful insects. Once processed in the biogas plant, cow dung can be used to feed other domesticated animals.
Mahiza further encouraged the rural communities to take advantage of the biogas project and buy the plant at Sh240,000 ($110) through a REA facilitated discount. Mahiza explained that normally the same plant could cost 20% more.
Funds earmarked for soft loans
Additionally, the Dutch Development Cooperation and the Tanga Dairy Cooperative Union are also promoting a Biogas Credit Revolving Fund (BCRF) with €100,000 ($108,826) capital. The fund will offer soft loans for dairy farmers in the region to acquire biogas plants.
"By launching the BCRF it means the dairy farmers in the region will have a double advantage....It gives a perfect development financing model for our disadvantaged farmers and peasants in the country," Mahiza concluded.