Who, What & Where

Millennium Engineers Enterprises Ltd is a Tanzanian renewable energy company specialised in solar and wind energy technologies. The company is implementing an impact business project that aims to transition the low-income sardine fishing industry in Lake Victoria, away from kerosene lanterns and traditional conventional methods towards cleaner, more affordable renewable energy solutions. The project will help to increase the value of sardines in the global market through innovating two major areas of the sardine fishing industry value chain.

The Company

The company was legally registered on 7th June 2016 by the Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) with registration number 126940. The company provides 'end-to-end' solar and wind energy solutions to public and private projects, resolving energy requirements in urban and rural areas. The company develops customised projects by looking into the needs of a specific community, industry, or business then developing a solution using either or both energy technologies while working alongside the customer to ensure the solution caters to their needs while still addressing cost, culture, efficiency and the environment.

The Challenge

Lake Victoria is the world's second-largest freshwater lake, providing food and jobs for millions of people in Africa. Lake Victoria supplies around 55% of all fish consumption in Africa and over half of the lake’s total yearly catch is a type of sardine (Dagaa) which is caught at night by fishermen.

Fishers spend 40% of their monthly profits on kerosene while risking their health, and their lives, by using pressurised kerosene lanterns that additionally contribute to significant levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Before departing for the night's fishing, all lanterns require small repairs and to be filled with kerosene, of which this process takes approximately three hours each afternoon. Each fishing boat takes eight lanterns for their night’s fishing and pressurises them for lighting once they reach their fishing location. Through the night each lantern is revisited several times to be re-pressurised to maintain its brightness. To preserve the sardine, it is dried on the sandy surfaces of the fishing islands.

The current ways of drying don’t guarantee good quality and constant supply of dry sardine. Heavy rains are the main culprit which washes the sardine away and causes what is left over to rot. On the open sandy beaches, animals and insects have access to the drying sardines where they are free to eat and contaminate it. Particularly during the rainy season fishers can lose up to 30% of their catch, because of this, and the remaining catch ends up having low nutritional value. Often only 30% of the catch is suitable for human consumption and the remaining 70% is used for animal feeds, leading to huge unnecessary food waste and lack of food security.

The industry has limited work opportunities for women further hampering household income. The majority of the communities are dependent upon the fishing industry and as such, other small businesses generate profits based on the primary income flows of the fishing industry.

Renewable Solution

Millennium Engineers Enterprises deliver the service of:

  1. Renting out solar fishing lamps; The current kerosene expenditure is high; the renting of lamps is set at a price point considerably lower than kerosene. By charging USD 1 per night to rent the solar lamps the fishers stand to save 55% on their current kerosene expenditure. Each kerosene lantern costs  USD 40 per month to run and maintain. There are 18 nights of fishing in any given month, renting our solar alternative generates USD 22 extra per lamp per month. Over the period of one year, each fishing boat stands to generate an additional USD 2,112 of profit.
  2. Establishing five solar-powered sardine drying facilities; The drying solution dries faster than the sun, improves the quality of the sardines, and protects it from rain making it possible to dry at all times in any weather condition. Having the basic comparison where 4,000 kg of wet sardines can be dried in a 2,500 sqm plot of land in one single fishing cycle (18 fishing days a month), our design is geared towards being able to dry 2,400 kg of wet sardines in a single day in just 500 sqm plot. The solutions save the fishers an extra 22 more hours for the drying solution. 
  3. Capacity building to women; The project closes the gap of women's involvement in the value chain of the sardines fishing industry through capacity building on business and relevant technological training. The project empowers local women to add value to the sardine fishing industry while addressing gender inequality issues, income generation, and environmental challenges.

Project Financing and Costs

The total project cost is 500,000 EUR of which 350,000 EUR received from EEP Africa, while 150,000 EUR was raised by the company from other project partners. 

Project Outcome

  • Improved fishers’ health and working environment
  • Improved food security in the industry
  • Reduction of CO2 by 1,972 tonnes annually
  • Increased income margins for 1,000 fishers
  • Creation of direct and indirect income generating opportunities for 300 local women

Next Steps

  • Stakeholder mapping and engagement 
  • Project Implementation 
  • Scale-up