Some renewable energy stakeholders on Tuesday said that energy could be exploited to enhance the agricultural produce and products value chain.
They said this at the just concluded programme on ‘Promoting the Citizens Access to Clean Energy Solution in Nigeria: A Gender Approach’ in Lagos.
The event, organised by Clean Technology Hub, a non-governmental organisation, seeks to increase access to clean energy and improve climate resilience.
According to them, preservation, drying and refrigeration of all aspects of agricultural produce and products value chain need energy, which the national power supply grid could not meet.
Renewable energy is the energy collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale.
Some examples of renewable energy sources are solar energy, wind energy, hydro power, geothermal energy and biomass energy.
They are different from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.
Ms Chidinma Ezike, Climate Action and Environment Associate, Clean Technology Hub, said that there were solutions proffered by experts, to help those in agriculture to do their work efficiently.
“We all know that women make up 70 per cent of those in the agricultural sector, and that they are involved at subsistence level.
“After harvest, preservation of crops and foodstuffs, drying of some products and refrigeration become an issue, as all require energy.
“Statistics show that almost 93 million Nigerians are not connected to the national grid.
“They rely on unclean sources of energy, exposing themselves to ill-health after prolong exposure.”
According to her, renewable energy have solutions to this and enhances the way agricultural produce are handled.
Ms Yeside Dipo-Salami, Business Development and Stakeholder Senior Associate, Clean Technology Hub, said that energy solutions had been proffered in areas of small solar panels and converting biomass to energy.
“Some appliances have been developed using the renewable energy technology, especially solar systems.
“All these appliances are environmental friendly, and do not emit much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
“The aim is to make life easier for everybody, especially those in agriculture value chain.
“There are different home and commercial appliances made with solar systems such as freezers, dryers, clean cook stoves and solar kiosks, among others,” she said.
Dipo-Salami noted that biomass energy could be generated to drive machines and other implements that required electricity.
According to her, there are many home and commercial solar systems designed to solve specific problems at home and business areas.
She said that the products could also be designed according to the need of the person.
Dipo-Salami said that by using these renewable energy technologies, people could also make some money for their livelihood.
Mrs Olasimbo Sojirin, Country Manager, Solar System Nigeria, said there was need to use geographical locations to bring energy to areas that have less than four-hour light a day, or no grid at all.
“The focus was on reaching the rural communities and assisting them to have access to energy through renewable energy.
“There are communities, even in urban centres, that do not have grid, those whose transformers have not worked for years, and those who do not have light for two hours.
“With solar energy and involvement of women, some communities have been empowered with electricity to drive their various means of livelihoods and preparation and preservation of agricultural produce and products.
“Solar energy systems ranging from cook stoves, water filters, lamps, phone charges to solar panel solutions for households and agriculture equipment are now available,” she said.
Sojirin noted that women were to look for the needs of their communities and work toward empowering them with solar system, to solve that particular need.
Mrs Lande Abudu, the Chief Operating Officer, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, said that people should first realise that there were energy problem and that everybody should be involved in solving the problem.
“Getting a lot of people to have access to energy will create a new set of entrepreneurs.
“There are lighting options, cooking options and small businesses options.
“Part of the solution is not just in donating anything to the affected areas but electrifying the remote areas through widespread installations of solar system facilities,” she said.
Mrs Ifeoma Malo, the Managing Director, Clean Technology Hub, said that women consumed energy more and so, should be at the centre of promoting the use of renewable energy in Nigeria.
“Women need to be involved in renewable energy for it to take root in the country.
“Unfortunately, Nigeria has a poor record of electricity distribution, and no part of the country can boast of 12-hour uninterrupted electricity supply a day.
“Women are at the receiving end, as they account for the most consumer of electricity at home, as small scale business owners and as industrialists.
“The question then arises, how to get these women to increase their livelihood by adopting centralised renewable energy.
“That is why involving women in spreading renewable energy usage is key, at home, where there is no grid at all, or where electricity is epileptic,” she said.
Malo said that its Open Society Initiative For West Africa (OSIWA) was aimed at citizens inclusion in projects, targeting at women in leadership positions, rural communities, micro, small and medium entrepreneurs.
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