The Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN), the IDB Group, SNV and HIVOS recently organised an event that highlighted the benefits of biogas, the technology's climate change mitigation potential as well as the opportunities offered by the Nicaragua Biogas Programme.
The event - which took place on October 26th in Managua, Nicaragua - was attended by national and international specialists with extensive experience in renewable energy. These experts acknowledged the importance of biogas in making farmers and SMEs more productive, competitive and sustainable. The biogas that is generated in bio-digesters, is primarily used in the kitchen as a clean fuel for cooking. Biogas can however also be used for productive use; the gas can power generators, that provide electricity for lighting, mowers, milking systems, water pumps and other appliances.
The representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Nicaragua, Carlos Melo, indicated that introducing new technologies such as biogas can initially be challenging in rural areas. These technologies do however constitute a strategic approach to tackling climate change mitigation and adaptation and provide economic and social benefits for poor households.
Emmanuel Bejar, Country Director of SNV Nicaragua, indicated that data, analyses and case studies presented during the event show that farmers and SMEs will earn back their investments in two or three years. Savings result from reduced spending on firewood, gasoline, LPG and electricity, as well as the replacement of chemical fertilisers by bio-slurry. Apart from financial gains, there are of course also benefits for people's health and the environment.
Wim van Nes, SNV's Global Energy Coordinator, pointed out that SNV has installed more than 600,000 bio-digesters worldwide, substantially contributing to climate change mitigation, since an emission reduction of 3.25 tons CO2 is achieved every year by switching from woodfuels to biogas for cooking.
Mr. Aris Mejia from Grupo LALA presented a paper entitled Dairy Processing: Safety, Market Access and Financing. He facilitated funding from LALA to farmers who supply milk to the company, so that they can adopt biogas systems linked to milking machines and therefore ensure higher product quality.
The event was organised within the framework of the Market Development Program of Biogas in Nicaragua (PBN), which is implemented by SNV Nicaragua, in partnership with Hivos through an investment of 6.2 million dollars from the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN) of the IDB Group, the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and local contributions.
Results of the Nicaragua Biogas Programme
About 800 cattle-raising families have acquired bio-digesters so far and around 5,000 people in rural areas have benefited directly from the technology. The biogas systems have replaced 2,750 tons of firewood for cooking, which has led to a reduction of 3,768 tons of CO2 emissions.
SNV is acknowledged worldwide for implementing programmes that support and establish sustainable biogas markets. In the past two decades, we have developed a model and a proven methodology which has been successfully implemented in numerous countries in Asia and Africa. In 2006, SNV won the Ashden Award for its work in the biogas sector in Vietnam. Currently, we are aiming to bring this successful experience to Latin America and the promotion of biogas is a priority in the region. The backing of Hivos, which also has extensive experience in the biogas field in Asia and Africa, further reinforces this initiative.
The Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN), a member of the IDB Group, supports inclusive development led by the private sector for the benefit of SMEs, farmers and low-income people. Its strategy is to address poverty and vulnerability by focusing on emerging businesses and smallholder farmers with the capacity to grow and create economic opportunities. A central part of FOMIN’s mission is to serve as a development laboratory, supporting experimentation, innovation and tackling risks together with local partners, to build and support successful business models for micro, small and medium enterprises.
The event was chaired by: Mr. Carlos Melo, Representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Nicaragua, Ms. Myrtille Danse, Director for Latin America of Hivos, Mr. Wim van Nes, Global Energy Coordinator of SNV, Mr. Aage Jørgensen, Programs Manager of NDF, and Mr. Emmanuel Bejar, Country Director of SNV Nicaragua.