Biogas Digesters Empower Dairy Farmers in Uganda

Biogas Digesters Empower Dairy Farmers in Uganda

Imagine: you live in a rural, off-grid village in Uganda. A few years ago, you invested your scarce savings in 5 calves. It seemed a wise investment: unlike maize or rice, cows provide income on a daily basis. However, in reality, the milk business turns out frustrating: Due to a lack of electricity and hence a cold storage facility, you can only milk once a day. Also, the traders take unfair advantage of your lack of cold storage and show up at the end of the day, offering rock-bottom prices.  Instead of the $13.80/day you could potentially earn, you earn only $4.5/day. Biogas powered fridges increase farmers revenues “This unfair power play is exactly what motivated our first clients to sign up for our biogas- powered gas fridge”, explains Gabriel Okello, COO of Green Heat. “Many of them had never heard of biogas technology, were unfamiliar with gas-fridges and hence had concerns about the performance and lifetime of the system. However, they were so frustrated with the status quo that they took the risk and invested $3,000, a very significant amount of money. Luckily, the biogas- digester proved to be a profitable investment: 4 of the first 5 customers used the fridge to expand their business activities, by adding more cows or by producing yogurt. The good news travelled fast and in the following months, 23 more farmers ordered a system.   Sustainable alternative for firewood Gabriel and his co-founder Vianney, established Green Heat in 2011. “The business idea all started out of laziness”, Gabriel tells laughingly. “I grew up in a rural village and as a kid, I...