National Biomass Strategy launchedNov 10, 2014
Kampala - A strategy that will help government and various players in the biomass market has been launched today.
The National Biomass Energy Strategy is part of the Government of Uganda’s efforts to ensure sustainable use of biomass energy resources such as firewood and charcoal which are the biggest and cheapest source of energy for most Ugandans are better planned for.
James Baanabe, the Acting Commissioner, Energy Resource Department who represented the State Minister for Energy at the launch event underscored the importance of biomass which contributes to 90% of the country’s energy mix.
“Biomass energy such as charcoal is important for all of us because the alternative sources of fuel are expensive however it affects land and the environment around us often times leading to degradation,” James Baanabe, the Acting Commissioner, Energy Resource Department who represented the State Minister for Energy said during the launch event.
He added that the contribution of firewood to the Uganda’s economy is estimated at UGX 3,500bn and that for charcoal at UGX 900bn whereas the agro residues stand at UGX 238bn. While in terms of employment, biomass production and trade creates nearly 220,000 jobs for Ugandans and also supports an estimated one million dependents.
Speaking on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Country Director, Onesimus Muhwezi applauded government’s efforts to plan for the biomass energy sector.
“The development of the National Biomass Energy Strategy being launched today is part and parcel of UNDP support to government in implementation of the Renewable Energy Policy 2007 and its contribution to achievement of sustainable energy for all objectives on access to modern energy, reducing energy loss and doubling renewable energy in the global energy mix,” Mr. Muhwezi said.
He added that other related initiatives supported by UNDP that aim at long term environmental protection focus on sustainable land management particularly encouraging tree stock production and also promoting the adoption of improved charcoal technologies.
Biomass has a unique feature for Uganda as it is not site specific and can be grown in all regions of the country. It is commonly used as a fuel for cooking, provision of process heat as well as electricity hence a resource that is a pillar for sustainable energy provision in Uganda.
The newly launched Biomass Energy Strategy will be used to match the supply and demand side of the biomass resource to ensure its sustainable utilization especially since its use whether for household, construction or other industries is still using inefficient technologies that lead to degradation of the environment.
Mr. Baanabe called on all stakeholder involved to ensure full use of the strategy as the proper use of biomass resources in Uganda will ensure the survival of Uganda’s present and future generations.
As part of the launch, four motorcycles were given to District Forest officers from Kiboga, Mubende, Nakaseke and Kiryandongo. The motorcycles will be used to coordinate charcoal production groups in the four districts under the Addressing barriers to adoption of improved charcoal technologies and sustainable land management practices through an integrated approach project, which focuses on promoting efficient charcoal production. This project which is implemented by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral resources with support from UNDP is part of the wider plan to achieve effective use of biomass resources.