Geothermal energy which is the heat energy radiating from the earth’s core has been discovered to provide unique opportunities for cost efficient, sustainable food production and processing in developing countries, according to information released by FAO and made available to NaijaAgroNet .
According to Carlos da Silva, Senior Agribusiness Economist in FAO, “It’s an energy source that’s renewable, clean and low-cost once you’ve made the initial investment to harness it.”
Da Silva who works in FAO’s Rural Infrastructure and Agribusiness Division said that “By using a clean energy source, you’re not only addressing cost but also the environmental impacts of food production and processing,” NaijaAgroNet reports.
Agriculture both consumes energy and emits greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Research suggests that using geothermal heating for greenhouses decreases fungus infections and cuts fuel costs by up to 80 per cent, providing significant savings to operating budgets.
In some developing economies, as much as half of all food produced is lost post-harvest – that's due in part to a lack of affordable energy for food processing, according to “Uses of Geothermal Energy in Food and Agriculture.”
“Geothermal energy for agriculture can be done even at small-scales and can significantly contribute to income generation, providing employment and improving food and nutrition security in developing countries,” adds Divine Njie, AGS Deputy Director and co-editor of the report.
Worldwide, 38 countries currently use geothermal energy for direct application in agricultural production and some 24 countries harness it to generate electricity, with Iceland, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Kenya, New Zealand and the Philippines deriving more than 10 per cent of their electricity needs from natural heat sources.
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