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Raising Fish Production in Uganda Through Renewable Energy

Uganda has the 7th highest inland fishery production in the world: the sector supports the livelihoods of over 5.3 million Ugandans and provides direct employment to over 1.2 million people. However, there is significant potential to increase the industry’s productivity. The sector faces 10-20% post-harvest losses on average, mostly because of inadequate access to cold storage at key points, while up to half of fishing income is spent on kerosene lamps for night fishing.

Men account for about 85% of labor in fisheries, and the role of women and youth in fisheries and aquaculture is often not given the attention it deserves. This has undermined the contribution of the sector to food and nutrition security, poverty eradication, equitable development, and sustainable resource utilization.

There is an opportunity for distributed renewable energy solutions to raise fish production by providing both cold storage and lighting. Ice-making enterprises improve access to cold storage and can reduce post-harvest losses and increase net income for fishers. These enterprises represent a clear opportunity for the deployment of either community mini-grids or standalone solar systems. A capital investment of $10.5 million would be required to deploy 8.9 MW of solar and storage to power these factories, and an additional $6.9 million would be required to construct 173 ice-making factories.

Lanterns are used to attract fish to nets during the evening and morning hours. These lanterns are currently powered by kerosene, which can be both expensive and dangerous. An investment of $1 million would provide 22,000 solar lanterns to fishers and deploy 825 kilowatts of solar and storage capacity supporting 22,000 fishing boats, displacing 88,000 kerosene lanterns. These lanterns could increase income for fishers by savings approximately $80 per month on fuel, while reducing CO2 emissions.

This investment would improve the livelihoods and incomes of 55,000 fishermen, while an additional 865 jobs would be created at ice-making enterprises. At the same time, 447,000 tons of CO2 would be avoided by 2030.

Winch Energy is already doing some of this work, having built three mini-grid sites which support over 500 homes and businesses in fishing communities on Bunjako Island, Uganda, including an ice-making plant. This ice-making facility has reduced post-harvest loss by up to 50% and increased midday consumption, thereby reducing curtailment and improving the financial viability of their mini-grid.

This case study is an excerpt from the report “Transforming a Billion Lives: The Job Creation Potential from a Green Power Transition in the Energy-Poor World”. Learn more about the findings by downloading the full report below.

  • Report

    Transforming a Billion Lives: The Job Creation Potential from a Green Power Transition in the Energy Poor World

    In “Transforming a Billion Lives: The Job Creation Potential From a Green Power Transition in the Energy-Poor World”, we estimate the job creation that would flow through tapping into the enormous growth potential of clean and distributed energies to end energy poverty to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 by 2030.
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