Sarafina Betty Namusobya and Annette Kubonaku Bazibu are among the many pioneer customers of the eco-friendly solar-powered milling know-how in Uganda that’s growing their family revenue and easing their milling wants for meals, animal and poultry feeds.
“The primary benefit of this photo voltaic mill is that you could mill anytime so long as the solar is shining. Being that this mill is powered by photo voltaic, I can now save the cash that I’d have paid the proprietor of a diesel-powered mill,” Bazibu says.
Bazibu, who owns Bazibu Farm in Buwenge, Jinja District, says her mill is normally busy after the farmers have harvested their crops.
“This enterprise is seasonal. For instance, when the farmers harvest maize, I obtain many shoppers on any given day. I’ll mill 150kgs of maize on day and I cost them Shs150 per kg. I additionally mill soybean and all different cereals for human consumption, animal and poultry feeds,” she says.
“Being a poultry farmer, I primarily mill for my birds,” Bazibu provides. “I’ve been milling 250kgs of poultry feed to final me for per week. I not too long ago bought off my layers and I’m planning to interchange them with one other 400 birds.”
Namusobya, who owns a poultry farm in Magamaga in Jinja District, says her photo voltaic mill has a capability to mill 250kgs of cereals per day. She additionally mills cereals for human consumption, animal and poultry feeds.
“I’ve been working this enterprise for 2 months now. I earn on common between Shs30,000 and Shs40,000 per day from milling for different individuals. This has enabled me to buy my very own mill for my poultry farm to be self-sustaining,” Namusobya says.
“I now not purchase feeds from different producers. Neighbouring poultry farmers purchase feed from me. This farm has remodeled my house right into a supply of revenue when individuals purchase or mill their produce from right here. I’ve additionally educated fellow farmers within the locality,” Namusobya provides.
“I’ve a poultry demonstration poultry farm, which is in its preliminary stage, with about 50 birds. My ambition is to increase my poultry farm to greater than 5,000 birds so this mill is not going to be sufficient for my enterprise in future,” Namusobya says.
Photo voltaic milling in Africa
In keeping with a 2020 report titled “Photo voltaic Milling: Exploring Market Necessities to Shut the Industrial Viability Hole” by Effectivity for Entry Coalition and Energy4Impact (E4I), for almost all of communities in sub-Saharan Africa that depend on grains and cassava for his or her primary staple meals crop, milling is a vital processing exercise.
In rural off-grid communities, diesel-powered mills are generally used to displace the necessity for guide grinding and pounding.
“Diesel mills have comparatively low capital prices and a well-developed provide chain for restore and upkeep. Nevertheless, diesel mills have excessive operational prices, are tough to function, are much less dependable than electrical mills, run on engines that pollute the setting, and usually are not all the time positioned near their meant customers. This will increase the time and labour burden for girls and kids, who are sometimes tasked with meals processing,” the report states.
In keeping with the report, electrical mills geared up with both alternating present (AC) or direct present (DC)/Brushless DC (BLDC) motors powered by mini-grids or stand-alone photo voltaic photovoltaic (PV) methods supply an alternative choice to diesel mills.
Electrical mills are dependable, simple and low-cost to function, environmentally pleasant and correctly sized to permit extra distributed placement, lowering the time and labour burden related to accessing milling providers.
Maize is essentially the most generally produced cereal in sub-Sahara Africa, representing greater than 16 per cent of the 200 million hectares of cultivated land.
In Zambia, maize meal is a staple meals, provided that the cereal is cultivated all around the nation.
ENGIE Energy Nook Chitandika photo voltaic mini-grid plant has deployed two Hammer Mills and two Dehullers at a value of $7,500 (Shs27m) underneath its equipment financing scheme. The mills serve Chitandika group and surrounding villages. Throughout peak durations, the mills are operational from dawn to sundown and for a mean of three hours in off-peak durations.
“There may be noticeable curiosity and willingness to pay for electrical powered maize mills as they’re perceived to be sooner, finer, and don’t have any scent of diesel. It prices round $25 (Shs91,000) to fill a 20-litre container of diesel, which is able to course of round 15 to twenty luggage (50kgs) relying on the situation of the diesel mill, whereas the identical quantity will course of no less than 28 luggage when linked to electrical mills,” the Effectivity for Entry Coalition and E4I report provides.
In East Africa, maize accounts for 75 per cent of the realm’s whole annual harvest of 64 million tonnes. Off-grid smallholder farmers within the area produce many of the maize. In keeping with the Effectivity for Entry Coalition and E4I report, many rural off-grid communities depend on diesel-powered milling gear to course of necessary staple crops.
“Photo voltaic-powered maize mills present an acceptable different to grid energy in areas which can be more durable to achieve by the normal energy utilities or areas that non-public energy corporations don’t think about to be economically viable within the brief to medium phrases because of low efficient demand for energy,” Brian Kawuma, the coordinator of Energy for All, Powering Agriculture for Uganda, says.
“Generally, operators of the traditional diesel or electric-powered maize mills desire to find their companies within the busier business centres the place they’ll simply entry grid energy or diesel for his or her mills, but the majority of maize grain is produced in distant villages far-off from the buying and selling centres. Therefore, rural smallholder farmers are left to decide on between promoting their produce on a budget to fee brokers or middlemen or trek lengthy distances to the buying and selling centres so it may be milled,” Kawuma provides.
Energy for All is an NGO working to extend and speed up the function of decentralised renewable vitality options (DREs) in Africa and Asia.
In keeping with the Effectivity for Entry Coalition and E4I report, photo voltaic mills supply the flexibility to mill quite a lot of grains and carry out further features resembling cellphone charging, along with providing a wide selection of well being advantages, versus diesel mills.
In keeping with the CrossBoundary Innovation Lab, April 2020 Examine: Milling on Mini-Grids, if a mill for photo voltaic mini-grids, which might compete with diesel may be developed and scaled, the economics of mini-grids will change.
Millers are dependable, high-earning, and high-consuming vitality clients. On common, they spend $240 (about Shs875,000) month-to-month on diesel, at websites the place the electrical energy spend of the typical mini-grid buyer is $5 (about Shs18,000) per thirty days. Furthermore, millers are prepared to change: 95 per cent of millers desire photo voltaic PV to diesel as an vitality supply, and they’re even keen to pay extra for an electrical mill.
The price of a photo voltaic mill
A photo voltaic mill prices Shs14m, which is excessive for a mean farmer.
“The price of the mill isn’t a lot beneficial to a farmer to afford. The fee must be diminished in order that it’s pocket-friendly,” Sarafina Betty Namusobya, a pioneer consumer of the eco-friendly solar-powered milling know-how in Uganda, says.
Annette Kubonaku Bazibu, one other pioneer consumer of a solar-powered milling know-how in Uganda, says: “The preliminary value may be very excessive in comparison with a diesel or electrical mill. Though we’re paying again in installments to ultimately personal the mills, our clients are seasonal.”
Patricia Ayebare, the grants coordinator at Energy Belief Uganda Restricted, says every machine prices Shs14m whether it is payable in installments and its Shs13m if somebody is paying money.
“We additionally realised that the machine value is excessive. However the value increase is as a result of the photo voltaic system is massive. So, many of the prices is on the photo voltaic system as a result of the mill alone is Shs3.5m,” Ayebare says.
“The photo voltaic mill know-how has not picked up as a result of it’s nonetheless within the pilot and scale up part. There are nonetheless some technological challenges to the know-how,” Ayebare says.
She provides: “Photo voltaic vitality is pricey for most individuals within the off-grid communities.”
Price remains to be a significant barrier to scale, and the shortcoming of smallholder farmers to pay implies that an addressable market of $11.3 billion for irrigation, cooling and refrigeration, and agro-processing is in actuality solely a serviceable market of $734 million (simply six per cent of the potential), in accordance with IFC Lighting International.
“That’s primarily due to affordability,” Kawuma notes. “This implies end-user finance is crucial to carry down prices, enable for wider deployment of photo voltaic milling options, and result in scale, elevated manufacturing, and worth addition. As well as, the provision chain for weak-grid and off-grid agro-processing equipment should turn into additional standardised and strengthened, which can even carry down prices.”
“I’ve an issue with the invertor. It’s not giving us sufficient energy for the lights. It can’t maintain gentle. The engineers who are available from Kampala usually are not common and we wouldn’t have others round right here. We lose clients after they come right here and don’t discover the mill in operation. A mill may break down for one or two weeks earlier than the engineers come from Kampala to restore it. They need to prepare engineers who might be close by right here,” Namusobya says.
“We plan to recruit technicians in future within the totally different websites,” Ayebare says.
“Photo voltaic milling is a posh course of – from know-how, market match and enterprise case perspective. For instance, photo voltaic milling doesn’t have the worth addition potential that photo voltaic water pumps present to excessive worth meals crops, as milling offers with the bottom worth meals crops the place the revenue margins are minuscule,” the chief government officer of Agsol, Matt Carr, writes within the ahead of the Effectivity for Entry Coalition and E4I report.
“Nevertheless, milling has arguably the potential to turn into a very powerful productive use know-how, not solely due to the common want that off-grid communities have for milling providers, but in addition as a result of it’s a uniquely gender-segregated family activity – girls or women are all the time those tasked with meals processing,” Carr says.
“In Africa, about 40 billion hours of off-grid girls’s unpaid time are spent on processing annually. Automating this course of would unencumber a major period of time for girls and women, which might be put in direction of different productive or instructional actions, and assist girls’s empowerment,” Carr provides.
As to why Africa has not adopted photo voltaic vitality as a viable different to grid electrical energy, Kawuma observes: “There may be lack of an enabling setting. Governments ought to fast-track coverage, institutional and monetary assist to the photo voltaic vitality business, particularly for productive use circumstances which have the potential to develop efficient demand for photo voltaic vitality. It will spur personal sector corporations to take a position and develop the photo voltaic vitality business.”
“There are excessive prices of photo voltaic gear. In lots of African nations, most grid energy connections, photo voltaic vitality requires a excessive preliminary funding that’s not reasonably priced by many voters within the rural communities. Incentives must be put in place to extend entry to credit score finance for small and medium enterprises and farmers. And there may be lack of know-how. Low efficient demand because of restricted consciousness of the advantages and functions of photo voltaic vitality,” Kawuma provides.