Wednesday March 5 2014

Expert advises on energy use on farms

Providing heat for chicks is one of the ways that gas as a source of energy can be utilised in farm activities.

Providing heat for chicks is one of the ways that gas as a source of energy can be utilised in farm activities. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By Stephen Otage

Farmers have been advised to embrace biogas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) as a cleaner form of energy for farming and domestic use instead of charcoal and firewood.

Dr Emmy Wasirwe a public health specialist and also the chief executive officer, Wana Energy Solutions, a company dealing in liquid petroleum gas, stated that farmers form majority of the population who use wood fuel, which is responsible of the increasing deforestation.

In a press interview last week, he said contrary to the widely held belief, biogas and LPG gas are not expensive forms of energy.

No longer an excuse
A study conducted by United Nations Environment Programme in 2012 in Uganda showed an average family of five members spends Shs60,000 on wood fuel per month compared to Shs40,000 that a similar family size spends on gas.
“How much is a bag of charcoal today? How many bags of charcoal does a family of eight members require per month and compare the amount of money similar families sizes are spending on gas,” he challenged.

According to Wasirwe, it is no longer an excuse for farmers to claim that they cannot add value to their produce because they lack electricity yet biogas and LPG can do better work than electricity, wood fuels and solar energy.

“Farmers can dry meat using gas, they can dry maize, they can dry fish and even in poultry, they can heat the brooders using gas,” he said while citing examples of farm activities in which this kind of energy can be applied.
Wana Energy is an initiative and a member of Unreasonable East Africa, a global movement which looks out for unique social enterprises with the potential to lift poor communities out of poverty using minimum efforts.


Farmers get training on passion fruit growing

A one-day training seminar was held last week for passion fruit growers as well as those interested in growing the fruit on the best practices in crop management, how they can maximise profits, post-harvest handling and value addition.

Organised by Farming Consult and Management (Facom), it was in Makerere-Kavule, Kampala. It was part of a series of monthly seminars that cover different crops.

“If one is not patient then he or she shouldn’t try growing passion fruit, it requires a lot of patience,” cautioned Patrick K. Iga, chief executive officer, Facom, as he identified the three different types of passion fruit grown in Uganda; these are purple, yellow and Kawanda hybrid varieties.

Iga also advised on how to prevent diseases and urged farmers to seek for information from the experts. DVDs and hand books with related information were distributed to the participants.

According to Iga, the seminars are not only going to be held in Kampala but will in several other parts of Uganda. FACOM offers a variety of agricultural services to farmers ranging from sensitisation, technical advice to manpower services.

-Lawrence Ogwal