Poscher's blog

Delivering wind energy to small-scale farmers in Argentina: why did it fail?

Background: in Argentina many areas do not have access to electricity and people are typically practising wood spinning as daily livelihood, apart from farming. In those houses, an EVOLUX G2 500 watt (at 12m/s) electricity plug and light system was installed.

In one of these researched areas, 80% of the systems were not running anymore.

What happened?

small-scale wind energy Technical reasons:

-Broken blades due to the very strong local wind: an inadequate system for this area.

-Batteries ran flat because of no additional power sources

-Other technical breaks: problem arose because efficient over effective systems were chosen

Social/local reasons:

-It was not possible to repair the systems. Spare parts were far away located, young people moved to the cities leading to a lack of knowledge for maintaining and repairing the systems.

-Forbidden maintenance the systems. Farmers as end-users but not as owners.

-Fund of the project did not reach the farmers and the study site. Furthermore, equipment was stolen by farmers who pretended to be government officials.

Malawi in the future: will people be able to keep cooking?

The impressive presentation tackles the topic of biomass demand in the future and the problem of a possible supply-gap of biomass for cooking.

The main driving force of an increasing demand was identified to be the strong population growth in Malawi. Through modeling the demand and supply for the future, a big gap between the two was found, threatening the biomass availability. Even though other (not yet used) sources like crop residues may be used in the future, the demand will still exceed the supply up to a very high extent.

Biomass supply gap in Malawi

What is the government doing? Is it enough to ensure enough fuel for the Malawian people in the future?

The answer, given by the research, is that the planned methods will not be sufficient. The main strategy is the provision of efficient cooking stows to decrease the amount of fuel needed for cooking. The different models, with an optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, showed that, even with a high acceptance of the cooking stows, the supply gap remains.

Despite this finding, the research went further and provided a solution: different, individualizable agroforestry systems to include woody biomass in the farms to increase the fuelwood supply.

From the eyes of a small-scale milk trader: how to improve the milk value chain?

Imagine you are a small-scale milk trader in Kenya. You have some cows and you additionally collect milk from farmers to transport and sell it to milk stations. But many people and milk shops do not like to buy from you. They think you are selling unsafe, low-quality milk and they prefer to buy from formal, larger-scale sources. Government regulations are complicated and difficult to understand and researchers are analyzing and seeing you as a part of a "value chain" and this does not really help your situation.

You are facing quite lots of difficulties, and if the quality of the milk is bad, you cannot sell it anymore. You bear the risks, you lose money if the milk gets bad. Controlling the product by smell, taste, texture and density without technical support needs much expertise.

Traveling to the producers, controlling and keeping the quality to resell to milk stations is certainly a hard job. So, how to improve the situation?

Milk trader in Kenya The presented research takes a closer look at those limitations and possibilities for improving the situation of small-scale milk trading from the perspective of a local milk trader. What are the results?

Milk + Sun + Development = cooler, healthier milk? Local, solar-powered milk cooling

Problem: In Kenia, small scale milk producers (1-10 liters) carry in the morning their milk to cooperative-milk-collection stations, and they do so typically by bycicle. As the microbial activity without cooling stays high, the quality of the milk decreases during transportation. To prevent the degration of milk quality and allow further transportation, GIZ, University of Hohenheim and INCARDA developed a 600 watt, solar-powered milk cooling system.

Solar-powered milk cooling

How does it work: The solar-powered energy is stored, transferred to a refrigerator and then used to produce ice. The ice then is put into a special designed milk container without having direct contact with the milk. By that, it cools down the milk through additional isolation to around 20 degrees over a long period.

My personal highlight of Tropentag so far: Workshop 9 on Forest and Tropical Trees' Conservation

The different areas of expertise presented by the panelists, the intensive discussions following each topic, and the art to eventually sort, combine and conclude every presentation, made this workshop my highlight so far.

Beside the great job of the presenters, two more reasons why it succeeded in my mind were:

1st. The discussions that critically analyzed the research finding and its (limited) impact on development Discussions (2)

2nd. The closeness and approachability of the panel experts concearning ideas and knowledge exchange during the coffe break and afterwards.

Guided Poster section 3.1

Delayed, but in a very warm atmosphere, the guided poster session about forestry and agroforestry started at 5 pm today. The mostly young researchers faced bravely the challenge to present their findings in front of the dispersed, interested group of listeners.

In a very short X minutes wrap up, a big diversity and good mix of presentations and topics from all over the world were presented.

7 Posters from latin America, 4 Posters from Asia and 3 from Africa were displaied. They included topics of Forest Establishment, Agroforestry, Fodder, Policies, Community Forestry, Livelihood Enhancement and Landscape Restoration.

Group picture Even though the short time didn't allow to dive deeper into the topics, the presentations have definitely given hope to see the next generation of researchers growing up, continuing the strive to gain knowledge and foster improvement.

For an overview of the presenters with all the related poster just have a look at https://www.flickr.com/photos/tropentag/albums/72157672957864691/with/29...

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