Researchers find alternative source of energy

A Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) research team shows that pig waste can be used to produce biogas, principal investigator Dr Ezekiel Chimbombi has revealed.

A lot of people had attempted similar research and failed but Chimbombi said that they had secured financing from the UNDP-Global Environment Facility to achieve their breakthrough. "They gave us a small grant for this technology so that we can set up as we were certain that it will work," he said. All in all the entire whole project, including training will cost close to P345,000. Now Chimbombi and his team have decided to use the participatory approach where they get the farmers and work with them. This engagement will mean that the farmers will be able to see what is going on until the biogas plant is functional. The last thing they did, as part of that research, was to do a survey to determine whether there are pig farmers and if they are there do they have a waste management problem? The research was carried out in the South East region (which covers Mochudi, Molepolole, and Ramotswa). The findings were that there are over 4,000 pigs in the region and they do have a waste management problem.

The second step was to call the farmers and workshop them from Monday to Thursday last week at the Rural Training Center. They told the farmers that they have established that there is a problem of waste and they were happy that they have finally been helped to alleviate this. It was this four-day workshop that the farmers were taught how the plant will work.Asked why they decided to use pig waste over other animals, Chimbombi said that when they approached their financial sponsors, they knew very well that it is a competitive grant process. He said that they did not choose cattle because they are all over and are not confined like pigs.  So they had only two choices, either chickens or pigs but they resolved to use pigs as people normally associate them with dirt but now it's no longer waste but a resource.Starting this week, Chimbombi and his team will build the biogas plant and will be calling farmers occasionally to see the development. "We want to engage them so that they can finally adopt it." In addition, they are hopeful that the plant will be ready in less than six months.

Editor's Comment
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