27 November 2012

Uganda: In Brief - Uganda's Gulu Goes Green, With Help From Some Cows

Kampala — As traditional sources of energy, such as paraffin and wood fuel, grow more expensive, smallholders in northern Uganda's Gulu are embracing biogas - a renewable energy source produced from organic waste - to cook and to light up their homes.

"Since I started using the biogas energy, my children... have their meals on time, unlike in the past when they had only one meal because [of a] firewood problem," Florence Lawac, who has been using wood fuel for 13 years, told IRIN.

In Gulu, where many are impoverished and recovering from two decades of conflict, a litre of paraffin costs 2,500 Ugandan shillings (US$1); a bag of charcoal costs 18,000 shillings ($7). A six cu.m. biogas digester, meanwhile, costs an estimated 1.6 million shillings ($640) and can produce enough methane gas to cook and provide lighting for a household of five.

Through a pilot programme, the NGO Heifer International meets part of the cost of constructing biogas digesters. To feed the digester, beneficiaries are expected to have at least three Friesian cows or 10 indigenous ones, or have access to plant waste. Still, many of Gulu's smallholders cannot afford livestock.

Uganda loses about 73,000 hectares of private forest and over 7,000 hectares of protected forest reserves annually to timber and charcoal production, according to the National Forest Authority.

"It's important that we promote activities that seek to protect our environment because it's the source of our entire livelihood," James Ocaka, of Uganda's National Environment Management Authority, told IRIN.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. ]

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.