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Producing energy from rice by-products in Côte d’Ivoire

11/01/2019

Globally, Rice production accounts for 5% of GHG emissions from the agriculture, forestry and other land use sector. Integrated approaches linking climate-smart agriculture and bioenergy, supported by a strong GHG monitoring system, can reduce emissions.

An FAO project to reduce emissions from rice production in the Goh region of Côte d’Ivoire introduced climate-smart agricultural (CSA) practices, the production of rice husk briquettes to replace charcoal and measured the reduced Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the newly introduced practices using FAO’s EX-Ante Carbon balance Value chain Tool (EX-ACT).

The Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool (EX-ACT) is an appraisal system developed by FAO providing estimates on the impact of agricultural and forestry development projects, programmes and policies by measuring the greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted or sequestered due to project implementation.

Using this tool, the project team measured the reduced emissions from rice production in the Goh region.

The two-and-a-half-year project that ended last month targeted rice farmers, rice millers and local authorities working in agriculture, forestry, energy and the environment. It was implemented by FAO and government partners in Côte d’Ivoire.

Increased production, lower emissions

Through a Farmer Field School programme, farmers were trained to use Climate-smart agricultural practices and took part in:

  • Sustainable rice intensification
  • Improved seed management
  • Integrated pest and disease management
  • Ending slash and burn practices
  • Use of rice busk briquettes to produce cooking energy.

Briquettes are made of compressed, combustible biomass material, like rice husk. Rice husk management is a challenge for millers because of the limited uses of this by-product.

In urban areas of Côte d’Ivoire, where the main energy source for cooking is charcoal, the transformation of rice husks into briquettes to replace charcoal has had a positive influence on reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions. This is due to the fact that it reduces the need for woodfuel and hence the pressure on tree resources

During the project, a system to turn rice husks into briquettes was installed in 3 different mills. Each mill was given a kiln, a mixer, a press and a drying area. Millers were trained in how to manage the briquetting process, and women were involved in controlled cooking tests that compared the use of briquettes to that of wood charcoal for household cooking. While results were overall positive, there were some technical challenges because the technology has not been used before in these locations. It seems, however that these can be overcome in the future with some improvements based on lessons learned from the project.

The project results will be published in the report “GHG emissions accounting in the rice value chain in Gagnoa, Côte d’Ivoire”.