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Starved of electricity but with plentiful methane-rich manure, rural livestock farmers in this heavily agricultural nation have become unlikely heroes and beneficiaries of Africa’s fight to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Take 46-year-old Juliana Mengue, who was widowed five years ago and has to care by herself for 40 cows on her a one-and-half acre farm in Bafut village in northwest Cameroon. A government program set up with the help of the Cameroon branch of global nonprofit Heifer International has turned her animals’ manure, more traditionally used only as a fertilizer in crop-farming, into fuel, boosting her family’s income.
As a result of the cheap bio-gas she produces, she is now able to spend more on medical care, education and on increasing her animal stock.
“We also use (the bio-gas) for lighting and heating, replacing our local bush lamps and the use of wood fuel,” she told reporters during a trip organized by the government to view demonstration bio-gas production centres set up in her village and two others nearby.
Mengue said her family has not only gained financially from the project but has also grown in understanding of the environment and climate change.