Rwanda’s energy sector is characterized by over dependence on biomass energy resources, responsible for 85% of its energy needs. 99% of Rwandans use biomass as the main source of energy for cooking making biomass a very critical energy option across the country. Exploitation of biomass for energy is a major cause of destruction of forest resources that affects the environment, leads to water scarcity and floods and reduces agricultural productivity.
The expected results from implementation of a domestic biogas program focuses on reduction of biomass resource depletion and a significant improvement in the quality of life of the participating families, the benefits relate to:
1) Saving of conventional fuel sources, mainly firewood;
2) Reduction of workload, especially of women and children;
3) Improvement in health and sanitation conditions, benefiting especially women and children;
4) Increase in agricultural production with proper utilization of slurry;
5) Employment generation;
6) Reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
While installation of biogas system based on cow dung has been widespread countrywide the construction of big based biogas systems has not yet been practiced while a number of families is rearing pigs in the rural areas of Rwanda. In this regards, Sustainable Agricultural for Food Security and Economic Development (SAFE) has undertaken an action research project aiming at reducing the workload of small scale farmers especially women through introduction of pig based biogas systems as an alternative cooking energy that will contribute to mitigate the challenges encountered by small holder farmers in increasing income and growing more food for a growing population in uncertain climatic and economic conditions.