Collapsing Demand of Biomass

Uganda's biomass market is on the verge of collapse

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By Rubina Obaid

www.asianbiomass.com

Energy sector has been facing numerous problems lately, that include bad governance, institutional incapacity, law enforcement issues but these have been regulated by the stakeholders and the relevant law enforcement firms but the entire sector has got hit hard due to the global pandemic outbreak and cleft the overall functionality.

The forest sector of Uganda is one of the major contributors of the country’s economy, that is responsible to add up to 6% of the GDP of the country. Energy sector has been facing numerous problems lately, that include bad governance, institutional incapacity, law enforcement issues but these have been regulated by the stakeholders and the relevant law enforcement firms however the entire sector has got hit hard due to the global pandemic outbreak and cleft the overall functionality. The task force of Gulu city passed a resolution that restricted free movement of charcoal through major urban centers to prevent the spread of the lethal coronavirus, while illegal transportation of the resources has been realized.

The campaign of staying home has been enforced by the state, to overcome the spread of the disease that has led to increase the use of biomass energy and also aggravated demand, price and hence the production was also required to be increased, which is impossible in the current situation. However, some flexibility has been established to the transportation sector in order to grant ease of  forests products transportation, according to the presidential directives to create some room for the cargo movement in the lockdown that eventually went unregulated and effective management of the resources.  Whereas, according to the Ministerial Conference on African forest Law Enforcement and Governance that greatly stressed upon good governance of forest resources by the African states, disruption and failure in forest government will wreak unsustainable utilization of resources and will lead to socio-economic and ecological cost.

Collapsing Demand of Biomass

Country’s Economy is going to suffer greatly due to the tempered opportunities in terms of revenues, resource health and biodiversity sustainability along with complex situation of unprecedented medical emergeny. The tree plantation drive in Uganda has been poorly administered and estimated to be 28 times lower as compared to the harvesting ratio. However, the country majorly relies upon the consumption of biomass energy that is about 90%, firewood accounts for 80%, charcoal and crop for rest of the 10% therefore electric power accounts for 1.4% of the national energy balance. According to UN 7th sustainable development goal that targets to ensure the access of affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to all. Traditional families in Uganda depend upon collecting fire woods traditionally and trees are cut down for the purpose, which is also becoming one of the major causes of environmental damage and the sustainability of the forests will be on stake. 

This has also caused the scarcity of the fuel wood due to which prices are rising and in the current situation the problem has been aggravated. 20% of the total country’s population are linked to electric grid that too gets tripped and causes power supply failure. Even though masses are not even connected with the electric grid still the demand exceeds the supply and ultimately facing shortfalls. Uganda is endowed with abundant natural resources and in order to achieve climate neutrality goals and in line with the SDGs, government must have to grasp the strong hold over  opportunities for national development that hugely depends upon energy sector.

Reference links

https://www.dandc.eu/en/article/many-ugandans-still-rely-traditional-biomass-energy-purposes

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