Biogas Technology Adoption and Its Contributions to Rural Livelihood and Environment in Northern Ethiopia, the Case of Ofla and Mecha Woredas

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Addis Ababa University


The implementation of domestic biogas technology programme at national level is a recent experience in Ethiopia. Consequently, there are limited empirical evidences concerning to both its dissemination and the overall impacts of the technology. Thus, this study examined the dissemination of biogas technology and its socio-economic and environmental impacts on the rural community in Northern Ethiopia. It employed a cross-sectional survey approach involving a total of 358 sample biogas user and non-user households. Both qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques were utilized. The study results showed that the major factors influencing households’ decisions on adoption of the technology include sex of the household head, educational level, cattle size, access to credit, income level, and the absence of biogas ‘injera’ stove. Various institutional problems like the existence of less suitable institutional structure, user training gaps, maintenance service gaps, and human resource gaps also hamper the pace of its dissemination. Besides, failure to incorporate biogas technology in the renewable energy list in documents like Energy Policy may negatively influence stakeholders’ commitment towards its development and dissemination. Nevertheless, the use of biogas technology has significant contributions in improving the lives of the rural people. It helps to reduce per capita energy consumption by 75.1 MJ per week. It significantly reduces fuelwood, dung fuel, and kerosene consumptions. It also improves health and sanitation as per the perception of the majority of the respondents. It minimizes the overall household workloads on average by 13.2 hours per week and significantly increases men’s involvement in the household chores. It helps to improve agricultural productivity through the use of bio-slurry and the labour saved. Fuel substitutions with biogas reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission on average by about 1.9 t of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per digester per year. It reduces the depletion of woody biomass through improving efficiency of energy use and energy substitutions, and hence increases carbon sequestration. Empowering females and female-headed households, improving educational levels of the household heads, raising income levels, improving access to credit, upgrading the existing biogas model through addition of ‘injera’ stove, and creating satisfied biogas users are likely to increase the adoption of biogas technology. The institutional structure should be increased to programme implementation, ‘woreda’, level. Standby biogas technicians who can give immediate maintenance services should be assigned at ‘woreda’ level in the earliest time possible. Biogas being a new technology to farmers, provision of timely user training to each biogas user household involving women and children should not be compromised. Incorporating biogas technology into energy policies, proclamations, and national development plants can positively push the stakeholders to give the necessary attention to its development and dissemination. To sustainably utilize the technology, maximize its benefits, and proliferate its expansions, non-operating and partially operating biogas plants should be repaired in the earliest time possible. People’s awareness about how to store and use bio-slurry should be raised. An operational platform for joint stakeholders’ actions should be in place to assist in exploiting its full potentials, and seeking and realizing the carbon reductionfinancial incentive