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Rice Waste To Serve As Energy Source For Households 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

Trainees display gasifier stoves that would produce energy for households

Trainees display gasifier stoves that would produce energy for households

Rice wastes, particularly the husks, would henceforth be used as a source of energy for households in Cameroon.

This is thanks to a project developed by AfricaRice in collaboration with the Canadian Government, where gasifier stoves, using rice husks would produce energy for household consumption.

The project is being implemented in Cameroon by the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development, IRAD.

The revelation was made in Yaounde on September 6 by the National Coordinator of the project, Dr. Francis Ngome Ajebesone. The project is dubbed: IRAD/AfricaRice/GAC project.

According to Dr Ngome, rice husks are fast becoming an environmental problem as their continuous accumulation is leading to pollution.

“In major rice growing areas of Cameroon, notably Ndop in the Northwest, Foumbot in the West, Yagoua in the Far North and Makenene in the Centre Regions, heaps of rice husks are commonly found around houses.

They are neither suitable for use as feed for animals nor as organic manure due to their slow decomposition rate,” Ngome told The Post.

He noted that after using rice husks for the cultivation of mushrooms, they realised that such an activity alone could not handle the waste generated from the hulling of rice.

“As such, we had to develop another activity that can lead to the valorisation of rice husks and that is how AfricaRice came up with the project of gasifier stoves.

Using the husks for mushroom cultivation and as a source of raw material for the generation of energy, we are likely to reduce the heaps of rice husks in our rice development hubs,” Dr. Ngome stated.

To him, it was because of the need to harness the newly developed technology. AfricaRice recently dispatched an expert, Dr. Sali Atanga, to Cameroon to build the capacities of local fabricators in the production of gasifier stoves and train researchers and technicians on the use of the said stoves.

“Seven trained scientists of IRAD are currently transferring the technology on the use of these stoves to representatives of farmer, religious groups and village communities in major rice growing hubs of Cameroon,” the project Coordinator noted.

Dr. Ngome asserted that, if the new technology is out-scaled in rice producing areas in Africa and Cameroon in particular, it would remarkably reduce environmental pollution and limit the excessive cutting down of trees for fuel wood.

He talked of income generation not only for local gasifier stove fabricators, but also for the rice farmers who would now save money meant for procurement of other sources of energy.

On what will become of the ash from the burning of the husks, Ngome explained that such ash is good for soil fertility, especially for the cultivation of vegetables.

He said by the end of this year, the project would have reached out to over 200 representatives of households and church groups.

When The Post visited the workshop of one of the trainees, Pius Alapa, at the Obili neighbourhood in Yaounde, he had successfully fabricated 20 of the gasifier stoves thanks to the financial support from the IRAD/AfricaRice/GAC project.

The Coordinator hinted that Alapa would be training other fabricators in the days ahead and that the 20 stoves would be distributed to households for testing in the rice development hubs.

The gasifier stove produces blue flames reminiscent to that produce by gas.

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