Polska pomoc


Biomass briquettes as a practical way to reduce deforestation of the Mt. Kilimanjaro Forest

Mount Kilimanjaro plays an important role in the regional ecosystem and the lives of the people inhabiting large parts of Tanzania and Kenya. It constitutes the primary source of potable water. However, the gradual deforestation of the mountain slopes has resulted in available water sources decreasing year on year. Also, the rapid population growth has increased the demand for wood – for home use and in schools for cooking – which is now beginning to outstrip the mountain’s capacity for vegetative regeneration.

These negative effects of forest clearing are mitigated to some extent by the planting of new trees. TEACA, a local NGO, has been involved in this process for the past 20 years. However, the real solution would be to replace firewood with alternative energy sources for kitchen use. Carbonised biomass could be used for production of fire briquettes. So far unused, the local biomass includes, among other things, dry branches, maize, cassava and sunflower stalks, and sawdust from sawmills. Since biomass can be sourced cost-free and such briquettes can be produced in quantities exceeding the needs of a single household and thus be a source of supplementary household income, the idea promoted by TEACA is likely to translate into a lasting change in habits.

Biomass briquettes as a practical way to reduce deforestation of the Mt. Kilimanjaro Forest

The project will be implemented between January and December 2016 on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro (in the vicinity of the Tema village) and in the Rombo District, where numerous sawmills operate. The Poland–East Africa Economic Foundation, in partnership with the Tanzanian TEACA organisation, will be responsible for implementing the project.

The key project objective is to reduce the deforestation of Mount Kilimanjaro. The aim is to convince local communities to switch to alternative energy sources. This will be achieved through educational activities, which will involve practical demonstrations of the briquette production process. An additional goal is to assist in the introduction of new crops supporting biomass production (e.g. cassava).

Educational activities will be addressed to schools as well as women’s and farmers’ self-help groups. During the activities, TEACA will present the briquette production technology it has developed. Another project measure involves installing a briquetting machine imported from Poland and commissioning the production of sawdust briquettes.

Project beneficiaries are the members of the local community who inhabit the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro: mostly poor subsistence farmers, growers of maize and bananas. As a result of this project, a more energy-efficient and less air polluting source of energy can come into use in the local kitchens. The production technology is very straightforward and relies on the use of simple, easy-to-repair machines: used oil drums are used for carbonation chambers, gas cylinders for material mixing machines, and the briquetting machine itself is based on a meat grinder. Schools and self-help groups will be equipped with the necessary equipment so they can start production for the market, whereas individual farmers will be allowed to sell charcoal for production of the briquettes to TEACA.

Biomass briquettes as a practical way to reduce deforestation of the Mt. Kilimanjaro Forest

The first project module was implemented between April and December 2016.

Four self-help groups and nearly 150 members of the local teaching and ancillary staff of 20 schools were trained in the Moshi Rural District. As a result, a total of more than 5,000 people gained knowledge about biomass, its carbonization and the production of high-energy briquettes, and about 500 people were directly involved in production. Schools and self-help groups were provided with equipment for briquette production. Project implementation resulted in 20 schools operating modern biomass briquette-fired school kitchens.

The project activities also involved the training of more than 400 farmers in the field of new agricultural crops which support the production of biomass. Farmers participating in educational activities received cassava seedlings as well as sunflower, pigeon pea and sorghum seeds.

Moreover, the project also involved the construction of a production hall in which the briquetting machine imported from Poland was installed. By the end of the first project module, production of sawdust briquettes (capacity of 100 to 150 kilograms of briquettes per day) had successfully commenced.

The project met with the support of the Moshi Rural District administration, which perceived the potential of the proposed solution to abate the nationwide phenomenon of forest degradation.