Making money from bio-slurry: the results of a marketing trial in Bhutan

Making money from bio-slurry: the results of a marketing trial in Bhutan

"Bhutan has one of the highest consumption of fuelwood per capita in the world, burning around 97 kg per month. That is about 1.2 million tonnes of fuelwood per year, out of which 70% is used by households for cooking and heating. The country imported 6,719.48 kilolitres of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in 2014 alone." (Source: Kuensel, 29 March 2016)

The infographic below is an extract from an analysis undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests on the economic benefits of biogas plants at national level. The calculation is based on a total of 3,000 biogas plants and proves that the government would save around BTN 92 million (USD 1.4 million) from a reduction in fuelwood, LPG, kerosene and electricity consumption. The analysis does not include health benefits and health costs incurred by the government.

ministry of agriculture analysis

When a biogas plant is filled with locally available raw materials, such as crop residues and animal and human waste, an anaerobic decomposition of these materials takes places. The fermentation residue that is discharged is called bio-slurry. The slurry retains all nutrients originally present in the feeding material, making it a potential organic fertiliser. Thus, the bio-slurry can be used to improve soil fertility, soil structure and crop productivity.

Through the Bhutan Biogas project, 2,742 biogas plants were installed by February 2016. As part of the project and in collaboration with the National Organic Programme, on 24 March 2016 we organised a bio-slurry marketing trial, launching dried and packed bio-slurry to the market. The marketing trial took place at the Thimphu Centenary Farmer’s Market and was supported by His Excellency Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Minister for Agriculture and Forests.

Mr. Padam Bhahadur Ghalley from Chukha Dzongkhag district brought 3,500 kg of bio-slurry in bags of 5 and 10 kg to the marketing trial. As a result, he and his son sold dried and packed bio-slurry worth BTN 5,000 within hours (one kg of dried bio-slurry costs BTN 20). Mr. Padam is one of the first two farmers who were trained in turning biogas plant waste into organic fertiliser, as part of the pilot trail in 2015.

ministry of agriculture bhutan

The Bhutan Biogas project is being implemented in 16 of the 20 districts of Bhutan and is a joint programme of the Department of Renewable Energy (DRE), Department of Livestock (DoL), Asian Development Bank (ADB), SNV and Bhutan Development Bank Ltd. (BDBL). The National Organic Programme, with support from the Bhutan Biogas Project, has trained 54 agriculture extension officials and 186 farmers in bio-slurry management and plans to train an additional 87 extension officials and 608 farmers in 2016.

Check out the Kuensel article published on 24 March 2016.