ISEES LAUNCHES “ENERGY FOR AGRICULTURE” PROJECT TO PROMOTE PRODUCTIVE USE OF ENERGY IN AGRICULTURE IN GHANA
ISEES has developed its Energy for Agriculture (E4A) program aimed at promoting productive use of energy in agriculture and agro-processing to enhance improved food security in Ghana. The program seeks to access the value chain in the food-waste-energy and environment nexus and the integration of renewable energy solutions towards improving challenges in the nexus. The project activities includes knowledge development, capacity building, technology development and piloting, sustainable market development and the deployment of improved energy technologies such as institutional cookstoves, solar water pumping for irrigation, solar dryers, biogas and solar PV for improved food production and processing. Also biomass gasifiers for electricity generation to power agro-machinery, oil press, and sustainable fuels and food – waste utilization for feed, fertilizer and fuels to reduce the over dependence on forest resources, reduce forest degradation, climate change, the drudgery of women involved in agro-processing as well as improve productivity and quality of food produced in Ghana.
ISEES has developed the expertise for creating sustainable markets for increased access to modern, affordable and accessible clean energy technologies for small and medium scale agro-processing enterprises and farmers to improve food security in Ghana.
ISEES is part of actors in the Productive Use of Energy Platform of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative in Ghana and hopes to partner with institutions involved in the promotion of thermal energy in agro-processing to enhance access to modern energy for women involved in agro-processing as well as farmers and farmer based organisations.
ISEES is currently in partnership with the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA) developing this program and currently researching into improved solar dryer technologies and biomass gasifiers for improved drying of agricultural produce.
ISEES staff has also been trained by GIZ in the design, installation, promotion and trouble shooting of solar powered irrigation systems in Tamale using a manual designed for actors in the sector to improve access to improved Solar Powered Irrigation Systems for small holder farmers in Ghana. ISEES is currently engaging farmer groups and working with them to mobilize local funding to be able to access solar powered irrigation systems for improved agricultural productivity. ISEES is in partnership with companies such as Pumptech and representing the southern and transitional zones in extending solar water pumping solutions to households and farmer groups.
ISEES is also partnering with SNV to promote the deployment of improved fish smoking stoves for women in the coastal areas of Ghana. ISEES technical staff have undergone a one week training organized by SNV at the Food Research Institute in Accra to enhance capacity in constructing and promoting newly improved Ahotor fish smoking ovens developed by SNV in Ghana. The new stoves does not only improve fuelwood efficiency and reduce smoke emissions, it also reduces the levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) on fish that makes them healthier to consume and open opportunity for fish exporters to sell into the European market. ISEES envisions to promote access to over 1000 improved fish smoking stoves to women groups in coastal areas of Ghana with SNV under the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project of USAID. ISEES however explores further partnerships to venture areas such as Keta, Ada, Winneba, Takoradi, Yeji and other fish smoking communities in the Volta Region, Central Region, Western Region, and Brong Ahafo Region.
ISEES is also exploring the potential use of biogas for agro-enterprises whose waste can be used as feedstock for biogas digesters. ISEES staff is researching the efficient utilization of waste from shea butter processing, palm oil processing, pig farms and cattle farms as feedstock for biogas to generate energy to be used in agro-processing. Such agro-processing groups will therefore have access to clean fuels and lighting from biogas and reduce the dependence on firewood for processing. ISEES having the expertise in these areas, seeks partnerships to conduct further research, install demonstration projects and scale up the biogas technologies for farmers involved in agro-processing as well as animal farming in communities in Ghana. ISEES is in partnership with the UNDP Ghana China Renewable Energy Technology Transfer Project to explore this potential and seeks further partnerships for scaling up.
ISEES is also promoting the installation of improved wood burning stoves for agro-processing groups such as gari processing, shea butter processing, pito brewing, rice parboiling, and palm kernel oil processing. ISEES has developed expertise in technology development for these stoves as well as market development to enhance adoption of stoves for women at the bottom of the pyramid usually involved in these processing activities. ISEES is also exploring the use of waste produced from these agro-processing industries as feed, fertilizer and fuels in order to reduce the overdependence on fuelwood. Whiles pilot projects for these stoves and fuels are available, ISEES seeks partnerships from institutions for scaling up these improved stoves technologies for such agro-industries in Ghana, especially under Energizing Development (ENDEV) Program of GIZ. For these women groups who uses a lot of fuelwood for traditional cooking, ISEES has developed a program to introduce sustainable woodlots for these agro-processing groups in order to provide them with sustainable source of fuelwood to reduce over-dependence on forest resources. Especially in the northern and volta regions, even the shea butter trees and mangroves are being depleted for shea butter processing and fish smoking respectively.
ISEES is also exploring the use of oil expellers for women involved in Palm Kernel Oil Processing, Peanut Oil Processing, Moringa oil, Citronella oil, Baobab oil and Coconut Oil in the Eastern, Northern, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Central Regions of Ghana to provide opportunity for improved quality of oil produced, reduced deforestation through avoided fuelwood usage, and reduced drudgery of women involved in oil production in Ghana. In Brong Ahafo, ISEES is partnering with the Ghana Permaculture Institute in the use of Oil Expellers for moringa, baobab and citronella oils. ISEES also explores the use of the waste extracts from oil production for soap making, feed and fertilizer for farmers and women groups in order to increase incomes for smallholder women processors in Ghana.
ISEES is also exploring the potential of using solar powered incubation technology in Ghana to enhance productivity in poultry, turkey, ducks and guinea fowls breeding in Ghana. ISEES staff is developing a solar powered incubator for deployment among poultry farmers in Ghana. ISEES is also exploring partnership with techonology developers to support the development of these innovative solar incubators in Ghana.
ISEES is has also exploring market development for solar windmills through its partnership with Sukasol in Ghana to promote their solar windmills to enhance its productive use in agriculture in Ghana. Solar windmills have the potential to generate over 1500 watt per unit which is expandable to provide sustained energy for small enterprises in Ghana.
In all ISEES hopes to promote market development of clean energy technologies for powering agriculture and agro-based industrialization centers in Ghana and Africa and ISEES is committed to this cause. Our passion has been driven by the fact that these agro-industries are largely dominated by small-holder women at the bottom of the pyramid who goes through crude technologies and highly labour intensive processes under harsh environmental conditions to process these grains, foods, oils, butter and nuts to feed the local community. However these women earns small margins from their processing activities and are largely poor. It has therefore become imperative for development partners and government to seek innovative ways to help improve the lives of these women by the introduction, capacity building and installation of improved cookstoves (to reduce smoke and fuelwood consumption) and other clean energy technologies and equipment either through a subsidy or inclusive business models – such as rent to own or save to own market strategies to help improved access to technologies that improve their processing activities and livelihoods.
ISEES continues to seek partnerships with potential donors, technology developers and institutions to help address the challenges of food security through the promotion and deployment of clean energy technologies for agriculture in Ghana and Africa.
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