CSOs Urge the Tanzania Government to Invest Heavily in Clean and Affordable Energy

Posted on October, 08 2018

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Mtwara have underscored the importance of the Government to increase investment in clean and affordable energy in order to conserve the crucial Ruvuma Landscape.
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Mtwara have underscored the importance of the Government to increase investment in clean and affordable energy in order to conserve the crucial Ruvuma Landscape.
Speaking during the presentation of Tanzania Traditional Energy Development And Environment Organization (TaTEDO) Baseline Survey, CSOs said it was a high time for the government to take keen interest in investing heavily in renewable energy in a bid to preserve the Ruvuma panorama.
“With the knowledge and technologies available, there has never been a better time for Tanzanian Government to get involved in renewable energy and contribute to improving the environment and wellbeing for the society as whole” CSOs said in a joint statement.
According to the National Census (2012) Tanzania has 9,365,928 households, of this 90% use solid biofuels that is charcoal, firewood, agro residues or cow dung as primary energy for cooking.  Ruvuma landscape is no exception.
Indeed, the baseline survey confirms firewood and charcoal are still the main sources of energy for cooking in the visited six districts namely Rufiji, Kilwa and Lindi, becoming the most affected areas by charcoal production.
On the same note, the baseline survey reveals that Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar are the major markets for charcoal produced in the said districts, putting the natural forests in that areas under siege.
Charcoal produced in Namtumbo District normally finds its way to Songea, signifying that the driving force behind the need for charcoal and fire wood is a realization that traditional three stone cook stoves are widely used in villages.
Presenting the findings Ms Mary Lema from TaTEDO said that women are the main owners of charcoal producing businesses contrary to what majorities think being a male dominated sector.
On the other hand she discovered that cooking stove production industry is mainly dominated by youths. Furthermore, fish frying centers particularly Kilwa Kivinje and Mtwara were identified as the biggest firewood consumers in the landscape.
Ms Mary pinpointed that charcoal tariffs and levies charged by Tanzania Forest Service (TFS) are perceived very high by charcoal dealers, prompting many to turn into illegal charcoal production as going through official procedures does not make the business sense for them.
Following a joint deliberation session, CSOs representatives came up with a set of recommendation, pointing towards the need to foster political will to create an enabling environment that will spur adaptation of renewable energy (RE) in the country.
The recommendations included, offering alternative livelihoods for women and youth who are mostly like to engage in charcoal business, through training.
 The CSOs also underlined the need for the community to access information and education on RE, energy efficient and alternative cooking technologies, if the Ruvuma landscape is to be saved.
Other resolutions were to promote availability of energy serving equipment supply including improved cook stoves, installation and maintenance services as well as provision of incentives to investors in RE like solar companies.
In addition CSOs implored the Government to revisit tariffs and levies charged in charcoal business as well as develop strategies to curb its demand in cities include promotion of e-Cook.
They also emphasized on the importance of strengthening the capacity of Local government as key players in promoting RE.
Meanwhile; WWF Tanzania under it’s ‘Leading the Change Programme’ has partnered with TaTEDO to improve access to clean and affordable energy in its latest initiative to discourage charcoal production that threaten the entire Ruvuma landscape.
Between 31st August to 1st September, 2018 awareness campaign workshops, demonstrations of  RE, energy efficient and alternative cooking technologies were facilitated by TaTEDO  in Mtwara District Council as part of the implementation of the programme.
The event brought together representatives from nine local CSOs to deliberate on energy.
Participants show casing Improved cooking stoves
© Diana Shuma