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Bioenergy and Food Security Assessment and Capacity Building for Rwanda - TCP/RWA/3704








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    Book (series)
    Sustainable bioenergy potential from crop, livestock and woody residues in Rwanda: An integrated bioenergy and food security approach 2023
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    Access to sustainable energy is essential for development, poverty reduction and food security. Rwanda, like many other developing countries, is working on identifying sustainable energy solutions to ensure access to energy. Bioenergy is one possible form of renewable energy that countries are looking at to supply part of their energy portfolio. Rwanda currently relies on traditional biomass for energy supply, and shifting away from traditional biomass use would lower its dependency on traditional biomass and improve access to modern sustainable energy forms. Sustainable bioenergy interlinks closely with the agriculture sector, therefore it is necessary to find specific options that minimize negative impacts on the environment and food security. This accomplishes the dual purpose of energy security and food security. This report assesses the use of agriculture residues for the production of bioenergy in Rwanda. The methodology used for the assessment is the Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS) approach of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The report provides a detailed assessment of the potential of crop, livestock and woody biomass availability for the production of off-grid electricity solutions and cooking fuels. Through the assessment, a number of specific bioenergy pathways are identified as suitable for bioenergy production. These options should be carried forward for piloting in the country and ground truthing.
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    Sustainable management of Miombo woodlands
    Food security, nutrition and wood energy
    2018
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    The Miombo woodland is a vast African dryland forest ecosystem covering close to 2.7 million km2 across southern Africa (Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The woodlands are characterized by the dominance of Brachystegia species, either alone or in association with Julbernardia and Isoberlinia species. It is estimated that the woodlands – through their numerous goods and services which include various non-wood forest products (NWFPs) (e.g. insects, mushrooms, fruits, tubers, medicine, fodder, honey, seeds) and woodfuels, which, for simplicity, will be referred to as non-timber forest products, or NTFPs, throughout the publication – sustain the livelihoods of more than 100 million rural poor and 50 million urban people. The charcoal sector alone employs vast numbers of rural people and offers additional income to many poor rural families. Communities moreover rely directly on the woodlands for food and nutrition. NWFPs add vital micro- and macronutrients to local diets and contribute to diversified food systems, while woodfuel is essential for cooking and sterilizing, thus ensuring proper nutrient absorption and providing clean water for drinking. Forests and trees, if managed sustainably, are an important source of resilience for rural people in the Miombo woodlands, supporting households to absorb and recover from climatic or economic calamities and contributing to resolving the underlying causes of food insecurity, undernutrition and poverty by providing nutritious edible products and woodfuel for cooking in addition to conserving biodiversity and water resources, buffering extreme weather conditions and preventing land degradation and desertification. Generally speaking, it is now accepted that forests managed for both timber and NTFPs retain more biodiversity and resilience than forests managed solely for one aspect, e.g. timber and exotic timber plantations. However, a growing population in high need of agricultural land and unsustainable use and overharvesting of natural resources in parts of the Miombo woodlands, combined with climate change impacts (e.g. drought, fires), leave insufficient time for many trees and associated species to regenerate naturally, posing a serious threat to the products and services of the woodlands, and to the livelihoods depending on them. Compounding the problem and hindering development of the Miombo ecosystem, are: i) lack of an enabling policy environment; ii) unsustainable management; iii) limited willingness and ability to pay for and access to energy-efficiency technologies; iv) inadequate awareness and information, including technical capacity; v) high poverty levels; and vi) limited access to microcredit facilities. With the Committee on World Food Security’s endorsement of the recommendations presented in the High Level Panel of Experts Report on Sustainable Forestry for Food Security and Nutrition in late 2017 – which include promoting multifunctional landscapes, integrated food-forestry systems, and research on associated linkages, among other things – forests and trees are expected to play a greater role in future land-use decisions and related policies. This paper provides an overview of these linkages in the context of the Miombo woodlands, in the hope that future land use, policy decisions and financial investments are shaped to support the contributions of forests and trees to the health and livelihoods of communities in the ecoregion. The following key messages were formulated: • Forests and trees, if managed sustainably, are an important source of resilience for rural people in the Miombo woodlands, supporting households to absorb and recover from climatic or economic calamities and contributing to resolving the underlying causes of food insecurity, undernutrition and poverty by providing nutritious edible products and woodfuel for cooking in addition to conserving biodiversity and water resources, buffering extreme weather conditions and preventing land degradation and desertification. • Current data bases referring to the value of the Miombo must be analysed and used as evidence to improve policy-making. • Miombo woodlands may be dominant (spatially), but they have not been addressed as a single unit but as part of the region’s forests. They form part of the overall forestry strategies and no specific mention in the conventions does not suggest that their importance is underplayed. • The management of Miombo will require some changes in management structures, especially in providing benefits emerging from trade in forest products to local managers. • Local forest managers should play a greater role in allocating resources for feedstock for charcoal production.
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    Book (series)
    Sustainable bioenergy potential in Zambia
    An integrated bioenergy food security assessment
    2020
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    Zambia is richly endowed with a wide range of biomass sources including woodlands, forests, agricultural residues and livestock waste. Biomass energy contributes supplies over 70 percent of the country’s energy needs. Due to the current extraction and consumption methods, the use of biomass energy has been linked with detrimental environmental effects such as deforestation and forest degradation as well as climate change, due to the loss of carbon sinks. Inefficient utilisation of biomass contributes significantly to deforestation which is estimated at between 79 000 – 150 000 ha per year, and negatively affects the health and income of rural households that depend on forest products for their livelihoods. Sustainable bioenergy strategies and alternative bioenergy solutions need to be defined and integrated into current efforts of the country to increase stable and sustainable access to energy. This report assesses the country context and defines which bioenergy options can be viable considering a number of solutions for electricity production, cooking fuels and transport fuels at the provincial and district level. Possible options originating from crop residues, livestock residues and forest plantation harvesting residues are identified, having netted out agriculture and forestry needs. The assessment now needs to be followed by local verification and investment to deploy an initial set of bioenergy projects and test the findings on the ground.

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