A rapid assessment carried out on socio-economic development results of domestic biogas technology in Adea woreda, Oromia region, indicated that biogas users attained significant economic benefits in addition to advantages related to health, sanitation and time saved for other economic activities.
For 60 years old Elfnesh Birmeji, from Denkaka, her 10m3 has helped her save between ETB 5000-10000 from previous use of charcoal, fuel wood and animal dung for cooking, and kerosene for lighting. She has also been using bio-slurry for her wheat and vegetable (papaya and garlic) farming and estimated the financial saving from replacing chemical fertilizers to be about ETB 1,500. Birmeji has witnessed her sanitation and health situation improve from smokeless energy. The head of a 13 member household feels that biogas was a rebirth, “I feel I was born again”.
In Ude, Tessema Alemayehu has been using the biogas lamp to reduce his electricity costs from lighting. He is also using his 8m3 biogas plant to generate domestic gas for cooking non-injera foods for his eight family members. The 38 year old has been using bio-slurry in his four hectare land since March 2010 and estimates to have saved in excess of ETB 6000 that would have been spent in chemical fertilizer purchases. And wanting to completely wean himself off any use of biomass fuel, Alemayehu is eager to see a quicker development of a biogas stove to bake injera, a traditional Ethiopian food.
Sale of compost made from bio-slurry to other farmers is generating additional revenues to many farmers with excess slurry for their own use. With a pension of ETB 320, 61 year old Mulugeta Ketema has been packaging the compost in 50kg bags and selling it to other farmers for an average ETB 14. Like Alemayehu, he too is eager to see a biogas stove that can bake injera. With such a stove in Ethiopia, he observes, “everyone would turn to biogas”. And with his six cattle able to feed the 6m3 digester, his only regret is that he hadn’t constructed a bigger plant to reap even greater benefits.
The National Biogas Programme Ethiopia is operated in 37 Woredas, and over 1200 plants had been constructed by June 2011. Over 77% of all Ethiopian households have cattle. Majority of biogas plants constructed in Ethiopia, the Sinidu model, are attached to latrines hence recording a great improvement in household sanitation and health. Enriched bio-slurry from such plants, as Amanu Wondimu, 41, has observed, leads to improved agriculture productivity. A horticultural farmer from Sebata Hawas district, Oromia region, Wondimu’s plant produces about 60 quitals of bio-slurry every year increasing his one hectare earnings by ETB 15,000. He is also able to save over ETB 3,000 from purchase of chemical fertilizers which he does not use anymore. Gas generated from his 8m3 plant lights and cooks for five other family members.