26. Utilization of Unused Natural Resources through Rice Husk Briquette Machines which Curb Deforestation and Create New Business and Employment

1. Approach’s Outline and Features

This approach is a business model created by a Japanese company that produces solid briquette fuels from rice husks as underutilized natural resources, by grinding and compressing them in a machine (hereinafter referred to as a “Grind Mill”). Rice husk briquettes can curb the demand for firewood and charcoal, preventing further deforestation, while producing and selling the briquette fuels creates new business and employment.

Curbing the demand for firewood and charcoal by producing underutilized natural resources
Based on the Japan Grind Mill Model, a locally customized Tanzanian model was developed with local needs in mind and technical training on how to operate and maintain it was provided to counterpart organizations.

Creation of a new business model and employment in collaboration with local manufacturers
Dissemination of a locally manufactured Grind Mill, including briquette machines and briquettes themselves, is an alternative to the costly business model whereby a Grind Mill is manufactured in Japan and exported to Tanzania. A collaborative model was proposed with local machinery manufacturers, who would build the machines using parts provided by the Japanese company.

Rice husk briquette, Alternative fuel, Creation of a new local business model and employment

2. Description of the project from which the approach is derived

2-1. Introduction

In Tanzania, one of Africa’s leading rice-growing countries, bulk disposal of rice husks has become problematic. Conceivably, introducing a machine to convert rice husks into solid briquette fuel would help: 1) solve the problem of rice husk disposal, 2) produce alternative fuels to firewood, 3) reduce deforestation by generating firewood and 4) create jobs. To establish the business plan, Tromso Co., Ltd, a Japanese SME (Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprise), conducted a Project Formulation Survey in 2013 and a Verification Survey in 2014 to investigate the business feasibility, including the development of a locally customized Grind Mill, providing technical training to local engineers on how to manufacture, assemble and maintain Grind Mill and the dissemination of Grind Mill and solid briquette fuel.

Rice husks loaded on wagons outside rice mills for disposal.
(Source : JICA)
Grind Mills at the project site in Mbeya.
(Source : JICA)
Test marketing of rice husk briquettes in Morogoro.
(Source : JICA)
Shipping of rice husk briquettes.
(Source : JICA)

2-2. Details of measures taken

  • Verification of Grind Mill and development of its locally customized model
    • Researching needs and issues.
    • Installing and demonstrating the Grind Mill (Japan Model) at the target site.
    • Developing a more affordable and simplified Tanzanian model of Grind Mill, commensurate with Tanzanian conditions and requirements.
    • Providing technical training on how to operate and maintain the Grind Mill to counterpart organizations.
  • Verification of the rice husk briquette manufacturing business
    • Negotiating with local manufacturers and selecting partners
    • Estimating market size
    • Surveying appropriate pricing and specifications of Grind MillComparing with conventional fuelsSurveying the availability and usage of rice husks in major rice production areas
    • Evaluating the profitability of the rice husk briquette manufacturing business

(Perspectives on sustainability)

  • The specifications of Grind Mill were simplified to meet local needs, which facilitated its dissemination in local markets.
  • The maintenance system was verified by screening and specially selecting machine manufacturers.
  • A business model was developed through cooperation with multiple local stakeholders, including manufacturers.

3. Analysis of the approach

3-1. Impact

  • The capacities of counterpart organizations and local machinery manufacturers were strengthened by providing technical training on how to operate and maintain Grind Mill.
  • The counterpart organizations operated Grind Mills and marketed the rice husk briquettes they made for 200-300Tsh/kg. Most of the sales were for commercial users, primarily schools, hospitals, restaurants and other institutions with large kitchens for cooking meals.
  • Disseminating the briquette machines and briquettes themselves would depend on both being affordable in the Tanzanian market. As an alternative to an export business model, in which Grind Mill is manufactured in Japan and exported to Tanzania, a collaborative model with local machinery manufacturers, who would build the machines using parts provided by Tromso, was proposed. Local machinery manufacturers would source common parts in Tanzania, excluding the core parts which grind and compress rice husks and some electrical parts unavailable on the local market.
Proposed Business Scheme (Source: JICA)

3-2. Lessons learned

  • The availability of consumables and other key parts impacts both the initial and running cost of Grind Mill, which may limit its profitability. Accordingly, further efforts to localize them and reduce the overall cost are imperative.
  • To ensure self-reliant and continuous activities by counterpart organizations, it is recommended that organizations further transfer technology acquired from the project to the private sector.
  • Besides affordability, ongoing efforts such as organizing promotional seminars are necessary to lower the bar for local residents to accept rice husk briquettes, despite the smoke and odor emitted while using them.

4. Relevant information

NbS Approach Category3-6. 26
Title of the project from which the approach is derivedVerification Survey with the Private Sector for Disseminating Japanese Technologies for the Utilization of Resources through Rice Husk Briquette Machines in Tanzania
“Project Formulation Survey” under the Governmental Commission on the Projects for ODA Overseas Economic Cooperation in FY2013: Study on an Introduction of a Rice Husk Briquette Machine
CountryUnited Republic of Tanzania
Implementing termProject Formulation Survey: 2013/11 – 2014/3
Verification Survey: 2014/9 – 2017/5
Implementing organizationsKilimanjaro Industrial Development Trust (KIDT)
Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO)
Supporting organizationsTROMSO Co., LTD.,
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Report/Tool/GuidelineSummary report : Tanzania, verification survey with the private sector for disseminating Japanese technologies for utilization of resources through rice husk briquette machines
UNIDO, Sustainable Technology Promotion Platform (STePP)
Contributors to this articleTakamasa Noro /Oriental Consultants Global (OCG)
Takuya Shiraishi / Oriental Consultants Global (OCG)