Biogas takes front row in natural resource conservation

By Joseph Mizimbe

Three days have elapsed without Janet Chikoko, a resident of Senti Township in Lilongwe, taking any meal because she has no fuel to use in her kitchen due to the increase in charcoal prices and hefty electricity tariffs.

Not knowing what to do with her condition, she wishes government and other stakeholders in the energy sector had broadened their operating base through providing people with sustainable alternative energy sources to benefit those with limited financial resources.

This is a common experience in most parts of the country, both in the rural and urban areas, where people are starved not because they have no food but the scarcity of affordable fuel.  

This is where a call for swift identification of proper energy sources is required.

Agri Smart Malawi (ASM) is a possible solution to fuel challenges Malawians are currently experiencing. The organization has invested substantially in the production of Biogas which has proved hopeful to some Malawians.

ASM CEO Julius Chilembwe says his organization decided to venture into energy sector specializing in Biogas production as one way of supplementing government’s efforts of conserving natural resources through providing people with sustainable energy sources.

The organization trains people in the biogas and briquettes production. He also explains that to motivate people to accept the modern fuel form, the organization provides them with cheaper biogas plants. He adds that, in a bid to reach people with messages on the importance of embracing biogas as energy source, the organization which is currently working in the central region, works through committees.

“As an organization working in the energy sector, we are determined to ensure that people in the country embrace biogas as energy source. To ensure that our dreams are realized, we instituted committees that help in our operations, and we are currently training people in making biogas briquettes which are critical in natural resources conservation,” Chilembwe explains.

On the other hand, ASM which also provides services in organic farming through the provision of organic fertilizers and pesticides that help in the reduction of water pollution, is working in the promotion of forestry conservation which he says, is done through the promotion of permaculture.

To ensure that their activities benefit the country, Chilembwe urges government to vigilantly work on ensuring that Malawians start accepting new energy sources including biogas.

He explains that it is imperative for government to directly engage people at grassroots on matters concerning energy rather than imposing on them questionable policies and legislations.

“The challenge we have discovered which prevents Malawians from accepting dynamics happening in the energy sector is government’s failure to fully engage people on decision making regarding shifts from one form of energy to another. My appeal, therefore, is that government should engage people directly from the grassroots through holding intensive sensitization meetings whenever there are new policies and legislations on energy,” Chilembwe says.

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