Why Biogas in Tanzania?

With a GDP (PPP) of US$ 1300 per capita and 37% of the population living below the poverty line, Tanzania belongs to the poorest countries worldwide. This is, among others, reflected in the low share of commercial energy use; 94% of the country’s energy requirement is met by biomass, primarily wood fuel and over 80% of the total energy consumption is used in rural areas.

The high consumption of wood fuel contributes to deforestation and soil degradation. Nearly 80% of the national energy consumption is applied for domestic energy (cooking and lighting). Poor households spend a considerable higher share (up to 35%) of their income on domestic energy.

Domestic biogas contributes to sustainable development and reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals. Domestic biogas installations provide benefits in the fields of (rural) energy supply, agriculture, health, sanitation, gender and environment. The programme joins-in well with the development intentions of the Government of Tanzania. Notably, a national biogas programme will support realization of Government policies in the fields of energy, poverty reduction, livestock development, rural development and SME development.

The technical potential for domestic biogas, based and the available substrate (manure) is estimated at 165,000 installations in a 10-year time frame.

The characteristics of a prospective biogas household should include:
- farming households, having 2 (zero-grazed) to 10 cattle or 8 to 40 pigs (or a combination thereof);
- real demand for alternative domestic energy sources, whereby it is helpful when the household already (partially) uses commercial energy;
- opportunities for meaningful application / marketing of bio-slurry;
- organized in dairy collection, micro-credit, women or rural development groups.