Are smallholder farmers willing to pay for a flexible balloon biogas digester? Evidence from a case study in Uganda

M Kabyanga, BB Balana, J Mugisha, PN Walekhwa, J Smith, K Glenk

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19 Citations (Scopus)
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Biogas technology, as a pro-poor renewable energy source, has been promoted in Uganda through the use of fixed dome and floating drum digester designs. However, these designs have proved to be too expensive for the average Ugandan household to afford. A cheaper flexible balloon digester has been proposed to increase uptake. However, there has been lack of evidence on household's willingness to pay (WTP) for the flexible balloon digester and the factors affecting adoption of this alternative design. Primary data were obtained from survey of experimental households and 144 ‘non-biogas’ households in central Uganda. A logistic regression model was used to estimate household's WTP and determine the factors that influence WTP. Results reveal that the majority of surveyed households showed their WTP, but an average household's maximum WTP (US$52) was ten times less than the actual cost of an imported flexible ballon digester unit (US$512). The results further indicate that household size, education level, gender and age of the household head, number of livestock owned, total land area owned and a household's perception on technology significantly influenced the WTP. Thus, government and NGOs interested in promoting this design should pay due attention on ensuring the availability of affordable flexible balloon digester from local sources. Otherwise, the focus should be on promoting either different biogas designs or alternative affordable renewable energy technologies rather than the flexible balloon digester.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123 - 129
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy for Sustainable Development
Early online date3 Feb 2018
Publication statusFirst published - 3 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note



  • Biogas technology
  • Flexible balloon digester
  • Smallholder farmers
  • Uganda
  • Willingness to pay


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