The biodigester credit: a reality in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso

The biodigester credit: a reality in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso

The National Biodigester Programme in Burkina Faso has recently signed partnership agreements with four micro-finance institutions (MFIs), offering credit facilities to people who want to build their own biodigesters but lack the finances.

With SNV's support, Sahel's Cooperatives Union for Savings and Credits (l'Union des Coopératives d’Epargne et de Crédit du Sahel) now provides credit facilities for 43 people in the Sahel region: 41 of them are planning to build biodigesters and two are going to purchase cattle. The total credit amounts to ~7,500 EUR (4,915,500 XOF): ~160 EUR/person planning to build a biodigester, ~460 EUR/person planning to buy cattle, and ~175 EUR/person planning to also build a kitchen and a shed in addition to the biodigester. Moreover, the institution has agreed to increase the reimbursement term from six to ten months. In order to cut the credit insurance costs, the 43 beneficiaries were split into groups of four to eight members, each group thus being secured in case of a member's credit default. The main criterion for the group constitution was that at least half of the group members would want to build a biodigester. This MFI expects to issue over 150 biodigester construction credits in 2016.

The Sahel region is one of Burkina Faso's most vulnerable regions and we're positive that the biodigesters will not only help improve food security but will also create a market for compost. The introduction of credit facilities for biodigesters is aimed at guaranteeing the viability and durability of the biodigester sector by stimulating demand and supply. To sustain the initiative, SNV oversees the agreements between biodigester enterprises and the micro-finance institutions.

In the meantime, the demand for biodigester credits has expanded to three more MFIs in other regions of Burkina. For instance, in the central region of the country, a women institution facilitated by Mutualité Femmes et Développement (MUFED) will provide biodigester credits for female clients.

Overall, the Biodigester Programme in Burkina Faso anticipates that 20% of their 2000 biodigester construction target in 2016 will be financed through the MFI partnerships.

Jan Lam, Sr. Biogas Advisor, West & Central Africa, SNV Burkina Faso