According to FAO data, firewood still produces about 6% of the world’s energy. In rural areas of Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, the use of firewood satisfy 70 percent of domestic energy needs; however, use of firewood as energy is only one of the different causes of deforestation, one of the most important is agriculture.
Each year we lose 7 million hectares of forest, 40% is due to large-scale agriculture and 33% is due to subsistence agriculture that gradually deforests and is gaining ground to produce food for their families and the growing population in all around the world.
For people who depend on firewood as a source of energy, especially for cooking, in countries such as Kenya, India, Nicaragua or Mexico lung diseases are one of the greatest risks. Collecting firewood is a task delegated to children and women, they must leave aside the school or economic activities that could increase their income; If there is no firewood, it is not possible to prepare the food.
Reduce deforestation and increase productivity in the agricultural sector
George Kariuki was born and raised in Kiambu County; one of the fastest growing counties in Kenya. The increasing rate of population growth in the County is putting a strain on the counties forest cover as it forms the main source of cooking energy. George’s family spent most of their time and money in collecting and purchasing firewood. “My wife would stop attending to her business to fetch firewood around the farm,”- he recalls
Things began looking up for George in 2017 when he made an encounter with Sistema.bio at Samuel Kimani’s home at a demonstration event in Kiambu County. By this time George had been looking for a biodigester technology that he could trust and afford for all his energy needs but it had never occurred to him that out of it he could get very rich organic fertilizer for his crops as well. “Sistema.bio digesters are not only high quality, it gives you multiple benefits. Now, my wife has unlimited time of cooking every day, I get fertilizer for my coffee and napier grass, I sell firewood from my coffee pruning and I get an extra income from telling my friends about Sistema- something that I would do it anyway,”- he says. That motivated George to join Sistema.bio.
George installed his digester five months ago and has since influenced 30 other farmers to make the switch. Sistema.bio digesters have significantly reduced the use of firewood and charcoal in communities. Farmers are harnessing the animal waste that was previously lying and attracting insects in their households to produce clean biogas and biofertilizer. The neighbourhood is fast transforming into a clean and modernized area.
For majority of residents in rural areas where clean and improved sources of energy are largely missing, George’s story of transformation is unique. Indoor air pollution is among the leading causes of death around the world. With the realization that the population around the world is fast growing, we must develop innovative and sustainable energy solutions that ensure residents in rural areas gain access to clean energy and can profitably manage all the waste in their households while safeguarding their health. Georges and Kiambu’s story must become a norm and not an exception.