11 November 2007 - A pair of projects worth US$100 million in the tea and sugar industries, designed to boost the use of clean energy and stimulate development, have been announced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The projects are aimed at developing new forms of local generation in order to cut dependence on fossil fuels, overcome poverty and reduce greenhouse gases.

The tea initiative is expected to reach more than 8 million people in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia by delivering small scale hydro power to plantations across East Africa.

Says Achim Steiner, UNEP executive director "Tea is known to be good for you; now it is also getting better for the environment."

He also commended some East African country for establishing power purchase agreements, which allow unconventional generators to sell surplus power back into the grid.

"It has opened up a raft of new opportunities for cleaner and renewable energy generation" he said.

The other project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will help farmers in the sugar industry use waste to generate electricity, fuelling sustainable economic growth. The project will reach approximately 10 million farmers and their dependants in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda and Tanzania.

The sugar initiative is based on successes in Mauritius, where up to 40% of the country's electricity is generated by the by-products of sugar processing.