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Biomass Energy Helps Food Security in West Africa

Author: Source:0  Updated:2016-11-30 17:11:57 Clicks:
Sources from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Research shows the majority of people in Africa depend on biomass to meet their energy needs, with approximately 80 percent relying on wood energy. Such high dependency makes families vul

Sources from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

Research shows the majority of people in Africa depend on biomass to meet their energy needs, with approximately 80 percent relying on wood energy. Such high dependency makes families vulnerable to unexpected and sudden changes, including extreme weather and socio-political events. Researching and developing ways to diversify energy sources is crucial for a more sustainable, food secure future.

A project funded through the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Cochran Fellowship Program on “Biofuels for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods,” hosted by the University of Missouri (MU) College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources International Programs, set out to address this very issue. The research and training program was organized for West African Cochran Fellows to learn how different uses of biofuels can help support sustainable livelihoods in their communities. The two-week-long program consisted of workshops, field visits and interactive discussions in cooperation with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, the MU Center for Agroforestry, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture and Envest Microfinance.
 
“Biofuels can help diversify such energy sources, whether through biogas or high-efficiency wood stoves. They also help supplement other renewable sources such as solar panels,” explained MU Program Coordinator Dr. Francisco Aguilar. “The more diverse, the more resilient households are, the more resilient households are, the more we are strengthening energy security.”
 
“A key point is to stress the role of energy resiliency as an instrumental component to food security,” explained Dr. Aguilar. “To be food secure, we need the energy to adequately cook the food to be safe to eat. Hence, energy security is integral to food security.”
 
From the concurrent biomass development of West Africa, it is plausible that there is an enormous biomass energy market. As the biggest exporter of this industry in Africa, China has been developing the local biomass technology and equipment. While the Asia-Pacific Biomass Energy Technology & Equipment Exhibition(APBE), as the biggest professional platform in the biomass energy sector in Asia-Pacific regions, has gathered global manufacturers, dealers, merchants, buyers and visitors altogether to boost the industry development.