Previous Page Table of Contents

Chapter 6. General findings and specific recommendations

6.1 General findings
6.2 Specific Recommendations

Although this study is not comprehensive in either thematic or geographical terms, the following general findings and specific recommendations have been recognised from an assessment of the regional material and the case studied presented. Other findings and recommendations, more implicit than explicit in the text, and which surfaced from the discussions among the authors and, in particular, from the "AfDB/FAO Seminar on Energy and Agriculture" convened by the AfDB in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, from 30 November to 2 December, 1994, have also been identified.

6.1 General findings

6.1.1 Policies
6.1.2 Sustainable agriculture and food security
6.1.3 Methodological Issues
6.1.4 Data requirements and availability
6.1.5. Technological issues
6.1.6 Awareness and capacity building

6.1.1 Policies

1. Energy and agricultural linkages

Agricultural productivity is closely associated to direct and indirect energy inputs, and policies are required to consolidate this relationship to the benefit of farmers. Agricultural development plans in most African countries are designed and implemented with little or no regard to this association, loosing opportunities to enhance production in both quantitative and qualitative terms. Energy development plans rarely take into consideration the present and future energy needs of agriculture, and most rural electrification programmes are mainly directed to households.

2. Energy prices

Energy price policies seldom regard the special economic conditions of rural populations. If rural development is to be achieved, energy inputs must be made available, and this might require special efforts from the society as a whole, such as subsidizing energy inputs in order to maintain the expected low costs and high quality of agricultural produce, as generally demanded by urban populations.

3. Social equity

Policies promoting social equity between rural and urban populations and between men and women, particularly in rural areas, are generally missing, leading to migration, injustice and social instability. In energy terms, this means reduction of human drudgery in water and fuel collection activities and better services. Facilitating energy and other inputs required by agriculture represents a higher recognition, in both economic and social terms, of the vital role played by the rural people in feeding society.

4. Land tenure

Policies on property of land and regulations to control its use are fields obviously out of the scope of this study, but a reference to this issue is considered important in the context of biomass conversion to energy. Legislation regarding property rights, both of land and of produce, such as biomass from forests is generally weak in Africa and is considered an important barrier to the healthy development of sustainable bioenergy production and use.

6.1.2 Sustainable agriculture and food security

1. Energy requirements for specific objectives

Methods should be capable of linking energy requirements with specific objectives of agricultural and rural development, such as food security, agro-industry development, and sustainable farming practices. This requires data indicating the energy intensiveness of different farming techniques for important food and other crops. A limited amount of such data is available in Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Tanzania, but is generally poor. Locally determined targets for agricultural production, along with specification of how these will be achieved, should be developed and used to the extent possible.

2. Considering the full "Food Chain" in assessing energy requirements

In order to benefit Food Security strategies with the necessary energy inputs in both qualitative and quantitative terms, policies and methodologies should consider the critical linkages between agricultural production, agricultural-based industries (food, beverage, tobacco, and textiles), distribution, commercialization, etc, as well as the rest of the economy. Agricultural growth is the most important contributor to manufacturing and service activity in Sub-Saharan Africa, not only stimulating agro-industries, but the rest of the economy as well. In this context, energy from biomass is an added benefit.

3. Energy availability to match Food Security targets

The goal of regional food security could require a 2-3 fold increase in agricultural energy requirements by 2010 relative to 1990/1 levels, particularly if emphasis is made on improving yield through conventional high-input techniques. (This reflects results for Zimbabwe). Agro-industry could become the fastest growing sector, in terms of energy requirements, with the agricultural sector the next fastest growth sector.

4. Energy implications of environmental and low-input fanning techniques

Low-input farming techniques, such as integrated pest management, low-tillage cultivation, use of residues, green manures, and other organic fertilizers, may play an important role in sustainable agricultural development. There are several local success stories and new initiatives in low-input, high-yield agriculture, however, the energy implications of these techniques have yet to be systematically documented. More research is needed to enable clear comparisons with well-established high-input methods.

5. Planning of energy inputs for specific SARD interventions

The design and implementation of almost all SARD field operations will require some form and amount of energy input. In many cases, this energy input is not considered from the start, leading to unsatisfactory solutions from both the environmental and energy efficiency standpoints. It is necessary to "energize" agricultural practices with the same sustainability and environmental criteria as the practice itself.

6.1.3 Methodological Issues

1. Coordinate agriculture, energy, electrification and rural development plans

Most sectoral plans are carried out in isolation from other sectors. This is particularly grave when developing policies and plans for energy in agriculture, due to the close interlinkages. To a great extent, this problem arises as a result of the lack of priority given by the energy sector to rural areas in general, to the lack of any "lobbying" capacity of farmers in the energy sector, and to the lack of mandate and of technical expertise on energy in the agricultural sector.

2. Institutional links and responsibilities

One of the striking features that was unearthed by this study is the very limited linkages between the various sectors which are to be involved in the definition of energy policies for agriculture, in the actual implementation of energy projects for agricultural activities and in the development of technologies related to the double role of agriculture as an energy consumer and producer. Therefore, intersectoral cooperation is necessary, and should include government, NGOs and the private sector. It would appear that there is a strong case for the design of institutional mechanisms for encouraging closer cooperation and collaboration between institutions, in particular between the agricultural and energy sectors. A national group or task force could be considered as a way of guiding an overall Energy for Agriculture programme. A national framework for action could be designed and adopted, to serve as reference for all involved.

3. Keeping methodologies flexible, simple and adaptable

Given the wide variation in both agriculture/energy relationships and data availability among African countries, methods of energy analysis should be flexible and adaptable. Models, spreadsheets, and other adaptable tools can offer a suitable framework for evaluating future energy requirements. Sophisticated models will generally be inappropriate, because of fixed and substantial data requirements.

4. Coordinating planning at local, regional and national levels

Methods for agricultural/rural energy planning should ideally be carried out at the local, regional, and national levels. Local needs are best addressed with knowledge of specific local conditions and with effective people's participation. At the same time, local areas are interdependent, and national planners must ensure that total national energy needs are met, often with large scale projects that cannot be planned at the local level (e.g. power plants, refineries, or pipelines). It is thus necessary to make converge local priorities with national interests, and area-based planning can be an effective tool.

5. Consider end-use analysis as the basis for planning and projections

Demand-driven, end-use analysis offers several advantages. It is generally based on significant desegregation among farm types, crops, regions and energy uses, to enable better understanding and projection of energy requirements. It also enables projections to be based on projected needs at a more local level. Not requiring consistent and reliable time-series or cross-sectional data like econometric analyses, end-use analyses can generally be adapted to available data. However, in-depth end-use analysis can be rather data intensive.

6.1.4 Data requirements and availability

1. Economic potential of energy interventions in agriculture

Greater efforts need to be directed towards understanding the economic impact of energy shortages and shortfalls in the agricultural sector of Africa. Information and data generated by this exercise would provide important and vital guidance for determining the optimum level of resources that should be channelled towards the study and assessment of energy use in the agricultural sector of Africa as well as the design and implementation of appropriate interventions. At the moment, the resources provided appear to be woefully inadequate. This is particularly striking in a region where agriculture is the dominant economic activity.

2. Collection, generation and collation of energy data

The general scarcity of available data on energy use patterns, combined with the importance of meeting agricultural energy needs, suggests that greater effort should be directed towards compilation of agricultural energy statistics. In addition, in the many countries where agriculture remains the predominant source of employment and income, and little is known about agricultural energy use patters, systematic surveys should be considered.

3. Normalized regional data base on energy and agriculture

Regional cooperation in the energy and agriculture field would strongly benefit from a data base built from normalized country information. The questionnaire prepared and utilized for the present study could be used as a guide in the first instance. This questionnaire could gradually be expanded to include other environmental sustainability parameters, which could assist in assessing the interlinkages between energy and SARD and energy and Food Security.

6.1.5. Technological issues

1. Efficient energy utilization

There is significant potential for cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in irrigation, crop curing and drying, and agro-industrial motor drive and process heating. Investing in these technological improvements would help to reduce the overall costs of meeting agricultural production goals, and minimize the environmental impacts of woodfuel use and the foreign exchange and capital requirements of expanding commercial energy supply. Key areas include tobacco curing, agricultural pumpsets, and food, beverage, and textile industries, where up to 50%, 20%, and 30% reductions in energy use, respectively, could be economic and achievable.

2. Biomass energy conversion

The potential role of agriculture as a major energy producer will only be tapped if technologies to convert biomass (wood; residues; purposely grown) are developed, tested and economically assessed. Among those technologies which seem to offer good possibilities are: gasification, pyrolysis, fermentation (alcohol and biogas) and modern combustion.

3. Renewable energy, sources

Although efforts have been pursued in many African countries to develop and utilize energy sources such as solar and wind energies, their potential is far from reached. Among the solar and wind technologies useful in agriculture are water lifting and pumping with solar thermal and photovoltaic systems and with wind mills and heat and cold production for drying and other processes with solar dryers and thermodynamic systems.

6.1.6 Awareness and capacity building

1. Political awareness

There is a general lack of recognition on the part of policy makers of the need to urgently increase the energy inputs for agriculture. Rural poverty alleviation is normally high in the policy agenda of most countries, and it would consolidate these efforts if energy issues were included as a major consideration in rural development plans and programmes.

2. Expertise in the study and analysis of energy for agriculture

The dearth of information and documentation on energy use in Africa's agriculture is an indication that expertise in this area is very limited. Most of the available literature is from either Asia or Latin America. The need for human resource development and capacity building to develop a critical mass of African expertise that can study and analyze the nexus between energy and agriculture cannot be over-emphasized. The African region has developed considerable expertise in many energy fields, as demonstrated by the efforts of the African Energy Programme of the African Development Bank, which have mobilized more than 140 energy experts. There is an urgent need to develop a training module on energy and agriculture in order to tap and mobilize that expertise towards this field.

6.2 Specific Recommendations

6.2.1 Studies and development of knowledge

6.2.1 Studies and development of knowledge Data and methodologies

1. Prepare guidelines related to the use of data for assessment, planning, forecasting, and identifying technological options. The guidelines should:

a. identify the minimum and maximum needs for data generation, collection and analysis in energy and agriculture;

b. review the major tools and technical models available for data analysis such as LEAP, MEDE-A, MEDEE, APENPLAN;

c. use the perspective of "chain analysis" (filiere) to link agriculture with energy use in other sectors such as industry and transport.

2. Analyze energy requirements related to different growth and development scenarios in different agroecological zones of Africa

3. Prepare a database on energy in agriculture that can be desegregated at national and sub-regional levels. The SADC database is an example to consider.

Based on the guidelines (above), the database should contain information on energy sources, use, use patterns, availability, distribution, requirements and other relevant parameters.

An effort should be made to address aspects related to energy "access" and "supply".

4. Develop a methodology and estimate cost factors related to sustainable farming practices and food security in Africa to use in estimating energy costs and comparing conventional vs. sustainable production systems.

5. Document the nature and amount of animate power (human labour, draught animals, etc.) used in African agriculture. Recommend alternatives for improving its effectiveness. Policy analysis and development

1. Formulate integrated rural energy plans and policies in selected, representative countries taming into account national efforts on poverty alleviation and activities such as Agenda 21, National Environmental Action Plans, National Conservation Strategies.

The plans should address production, processing, marketing, transport and institutional linkages between agriculture and other sectors.

Organize a regional workshop to assist in preparing the plans and policies.

2. Undertake a regional study on energy management methods used in agriculture. Prepare case examples such as from the five country studies and other countries in and outside the region.

The study should identify opportunities and present approaches for improving energy management in African agriculture.

3. Analyze the costs created by energy shortages in African agriculture. Prepare selected case examples to demonstrate the impacts. Regional technological prospects

1. Assess, throughout the region, the potential for replicating co-generation systems based on agricultural wastes. The experience in Mauritius and other countries related to the sugar industry could be used as examples. Investment opportunities should be identified.

Organize a regional workshop to assist in preparing the review.

2. Prepare a comparative evaluation of ethanol programmes in Kenya, Malawi, Mali and Zimbabwe to identify opportunities for replication and expansion in the region.

3. Evaluate and compare briquetting programmes for coconut, coffee, groundnuts and palm oil industries in selected, representative countries. Identify opportunities for replication and expansion in the region.

4. Undertake a regional study to identify the energy potential and technological options for using livestock wastes from large-scale production systems.

5. Prepare detailed studies in one or two countries (Cameroon is one good example) on the energy requirements and related investment costs to increase mechanization in agriculture and fisheries.

The studies should use national agricultural and energy plans as reference points, and take into account national food security and sustainability objectives

6. In selected countries, study the prospects for increasing energy use efficiency related to agro-processing, water and irrigation, land preparation, transport.

Organize a regional workshop to assist in preparing the study. National Studies on Energy and Agriculture

1. National case studies

a. Finalize the preliminary case studies in the present report for Cameroon, Mali, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

· broaden the existing case studies in order to facilitate the comparison and contrasting of the energy-agriculture relationships among the five countries.

b. Prepare more complete and in-depth, national studies for Cameroon, Mali, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Multi-disciplinary national teams could be supported to carry out the following activities within each country:

· deepen the analysis and understanding of the state of agriculture and associated energy requirements.

· identify opportunities for, and constraints to, increasing agricultural production in a sustainable manner.

· assess the impacts of national policies (e.g. related to pricing of energy and other inputs, development of transport and other infrastructure, gender issues, credit and land tenure), that have influenced and will continue to influence the use and supply of energy and the prospects for increased agricultural output.

· conduct surveys, as needed, to fill in data gaps. Emphasis may need to be given to West and Central Africa, where the current information base on energy use in agriculture is particularly weak.

· explore alternative agricultural and energy development scenarios in which conventional and renewable energy development, as well as energy efficiency measures are considered.

· assess manpower development requirements and promote education and training programmes to meet them.

· Based on the findings of the in-depth national studies, projects will be identified that can help to increase agricultural output through improved energy services.

c. Expand case studies to other countries

· carry out similar case studies for other countries, with initial emphasis on countries where conditions differ significantly from those in the original five case studies.

2. National consultations

Organize national consultations, upon completion of national case studies, on integrated energy and sustainable agricultural development with the objective of developing a National Framework of Action. Capacity Building

1. Political awareness

It is urgent to mobilize political and policy actions to accelerate rural development through energy inputs. All tools available need to be tapped to this end. Among these tools are the above mentioned National Consultations, which can be effective in identifying priorities and institutional cooperation mechanisms. Other political awareness tools are conferences, discussions at the time of political elections and campaigns through the mass media.

2. Human resource development

a. Develop and implement training modules on energy and agriculture. This module can be designed for inclusion in existing formal agriculture courses, as well as the few specialized energy courses that are currently available in the region. (In addition, this module can be incorporated into the programmes of new institutions at the regional and sub-regional levels that may be created through the African Energy Programme.)

b. Establish Regional and Subregional Technical Expert Services for:

· specific energy technologies, including energy efficiency, equipment design and selection, maintenance.

· surveys and other energy data collection activities in the agricultural sector.

· agricultural energy planning and policy analysis. Projects

The energy situation in the rural areas of Africa, as described in both qualitative, and to some extent, quantitative terms throughout this study, makes it clear that an enormous effort needs to be made. It would therefore be impossible to present in this document a comprehensive list of projects. Besides the regional projects discussed in the above sections, an effort has been made in this section to identify a sample of projects which represent only a small fraction of those which need to be urgently implemented. Many of the projects here presented were identified by the experts attending the "AfDB/FAO Seminar on Energy and Agriculture" convened by the AfDB in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, from 30 November to 2 December, 1994. Criteria for selection of projects

The selected projects adhere mainly to the following criteria:

· Have significant regional impact and encourage regional integration.

· Meet work energy requirement of agriculture; contribute to energy and agricultural sustainability and enhance agricultural productivity and cost-effectiveness.

· Use proven technology and approach that is well beyond the pilot phase.

· Are able to attract significant private sector co-financing in the long-term.

· Prove environmentally-sound as well as enhance social equity, technological and cultural development.

· Adhere to national development priorities and aspirations.

The above six criteria could assist the AfDB/AEP and FAO to develop a more comprehensive set of factors and pre-requisites for projects aimed at energy supply, transformation and use in agriculture. Sample Projects

1. Kenya: Co-generation from the sugar industry

Kenya has a large sugar industry as well as a looming power shortage. The country has an import-agreement with Uganda to import up to 30 MW. Electricity capacity shortages are expected in the near future. The country sugar industry could assist in closing the expected gap between growing demand for electricity and national power generation capacity. Most of the sugar mills already possess co-generation facilities and the main hurdle to the sale of surplus power from the mills to the national grid largely revolves around tariff agreements. In addition, conversion of current co-generation units to dual fuel units such as those operating in Mauritius and Reunion would allow regular provision of power and eliminate one of the main reasons for the reluctance of the national power utility (Kenya Power and Lighting Company) to purchase power from the sugar industry. Having been a major financier of the sugar industries, the AfDB is well-placed to provide the necessary financial and policy support to initiate the above activities as well as further expansion to other African countries.

2. Mali: Production of vegetable oil from the Baga Ni plant

The technology for the production of vegetable oil from the "Baga Ni" plant as a liquid fuel is relatively mature. The farming of the required grains is well-established and the use of small motorized presses to produce the vegetable oil are already functional. In addition the residues of "Baga Ni" plant constitute an excellent pesticide and laxative. The husks of the "Baga Ni" also constitute an environmentally-sound organic fertilizer. This is a national project with attractive opportunities for expansion at the regional level. In this respect, it would be advisable to first undertake a pre-feasibility study that examines the Mali experience and assesses the possibility of replication of this experience to other sub-Saharan African countries.

3. Kenya: Windpumping industry

Kenya has two well-established manufacturers of windpumps. Most of the installed windpumps are used for irrigation especially in the rapidly growing non-traditional agricultural products sub-sector (flowers, vegetables and fruits). In addition to providing low-cost and nutritious food products to the country, this sub-sector is one of the fastest growing export sub-sectors in the country. Similar growth has been experienced in Eastern, Southern and Northern African countries. Additional windpumps would increase the availability of water and allow the expansion of agricultural land dedicated to horticultural thus accelerating the growth of this important industry as well as increasing the sub-sector's output. It is estimated that over 90% of the value added of a typical windpump is now undertaken in the country which demonstrates significant technological capability and high potential for further replication. One of the key barriers facing further replication of this successful technology to the farming sector of Kenya and region is financing. With its long-term expertise in provision of financial assistance to the African agricultural sector, the AfDB with the assistance of the AEP could assist local Kenyan commercial banks and agricultural development banks to establish a financing package for windpumps which could be accessed by both producers and end-users of windpumps.

4. Zimbabwe: Irrigation projects to support baseload development and expanded rural electrification

Rural electrification has alluded most African countries. The main reason being two fold. Delivering electricity is too expensive (more so the extension of the grid). There is limited or virtually no capacity to consume supplied power - there is no base load because there is no economic activity to provide baseload. The project will introduce electrical water pumping and support irrigation schemes to raise baseload and to provide a self-interested economic activity which can sustainably pay for supplied power and therefore, rural electrification. The project can eventually be expanded to other sub-Saharan African countries but this proposal focuses primarily on Zimbabwe where some successes have been achieved in this form of baseload development. AfDB is well-placed to assist in developing credit schemes targeted at users to acquire the required equipment.

5. Regional energy potential of agricultural residues in Africa

Because of the energy potential of agricultural residues a regional project should be undertaken, to include financial assessments and technology demonstration.

6. Regional study - Potential of ethanol in Africa

Comparative review of ethanol programmes in Malawi, Kenya and Zimbabwe and opportunities for further replication in the region.

7. Regional study - Briquetting of coffee husks in Uganda

Coffee processing in Uganda is a centralized activity which generates a large amount of coffee husks that can be partially carbonized and converted into briquettes for consumption in both the industrial and household sectors. Production of coffee husks briquettes is already ongoing in Uganda and in a number of other African countries. It is recommended that the activity be undertaken in the form of a regional study that examines the potential of coffee husks.

8. Expansion of energy efficient tobacco curing methods

Activities of the Tobacco Research Board in Zimbabwe has improved energy efficiency in tobacco curing from 4.6 kg/kg to 1.6 kg/kg. This research achievement is being slowly diffused in the industry thereby saving wood and coal as well as costs to the farmer. The proposal is to support the critical assessment of this technology and its greater diffusion. The project would be easily commercialised and could be applied in other countries such as Malawi, Tanzania and the Republic of South Africa where tobacco is grown. Support would include verification of the technology, assessment of markets and export or diffusion promotion.

Previous Page Top of Page