National Policy Relation

NBP has society and policy acceptance linking it to the country’s National Strategy Development Plan in Environmental Protection, Conservation and Climate Change, Enhancement of the Agriculture Sector and Rural Development. It’s also aligned with Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme poverty, eliminate gender disparity in education, halt/reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases, and ensure environmental sustainability. Gender The following activities are most affected: collection of fuelwood, collection of water, feeding of the plant, cooking and cleaning of cooking utensils. Besides feeding of the plant, especially when this is done with cattle dung, operation and maintenance of the plant hardly require additional labour. Almost all women using biogas express great satisfaction with the cooking aspects of biogas. Biogas is quicker and easier for cooking than fuelwood. Moreover, a biogas flame is smokeless and does not require constant attention or blowing on the coals; women can put a on the burner and do other activities while the food id cooked. In summer, the heat during cooking is less. In general women feel that they cough less and have fewer problems with their eyes. There are reports however that the reduction of smoke and indoor air pollution leads also to an increase of mosquitoes. Environmental aspects Biogas on the other hand is a sustainable and renewable source of energy because it is part of a closed ecological cycle. The organic materials fed into the plant are used without being destroyed. The nutrients and organic matter (apart from carbon and hydrogen) will still be available in the effluent and can be returned to the soil. Burning of biogas does result in emission of CO2 to the atmosphere but it does not contribute to the greenhouse effect because an equal amount of CO2 is used by the plants in the ecological cycle. It is also for this reason that the nutrients are returned to the soil, plants will grow more abundantly and fix the CO2.

  • Saving on traditional energy sources. When biogas is used for cooking it will save on fuelwood, agricultural waste and animal waste.
  • saving on fossil energy sources.
  • improving soil fertility
Poverty, employment and health Although the early adopters of biodigester technology will most likely be the medium and larger farmers, smaller farmers too can be attracted to the programme. The flat rate subsidy policy favours smaller plant sizes and therefore smaller farmers more than larger ones. The programme is expected to have significant health effects. The main positive effect is on the level of indoor air-pollution. Other effects include the fact that improved dung management leads to better hygienic circumstances. Toilet attachments will be promoted. The use of digester connected toilets not only improves the hygienic conditions in and around the farmyard but also offer privacy. The programme generates a fair amount of employment for skilled as well as unskilled labour in rural areas. At the end of the pilot phase some 1500 masons and supervisors will be trained in the construction of biodigesters. At the same time 500 manyears will be required for the production of appliances and building materials while another 1200 manyears will be needed for unskilled labour during the construction of the biodigesters.

National strategy (MDGs/PRSP) and NBP targets As indicated above, domestic biodigester dissemination provides benefits in multiple fields (e.g. energy, environment, gender, and health) and links with national and international policies and strategies are many. Of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), at least four are directly related to domestic biogas. The table below provides the links between the MDGs, the national Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and the NBP targets for the period from 2005 to 2012.

MDG National Poverty Reduction Strategy 2003-2005, December 2002 NBP targets (2005-2012)
  • Page 194: Promote an adequate and reliable supply of energy for household uses
  • Page 195: Study and install renewable energy facilities
  • Page 192: Create rural employment
  • Page 194: Improve labour productivity and skills of Cambodians through provision of vocational training
  • 17,500 plants constructed
  • 105,000 people reached
  • 1,200 man-years employment created
  • 1,750 professionals trained
  • Page 229: Ensure equal access of women […] to economic resources and opportunities and equitable participation.
  • 9,900 years workload reduced (mainly for women
  • Page 204: Promote household hygienic latrine construction
  • Page 203: Promote healthy lifestyle and disease prevention
  • 1,750 toilets attached
  • 52,500 women & children less exposed to indoor air pollution
  • Page 179: Promote sustainable natural resources management and conservation
  • 99,000 ton biomass saved
  • 123,000 ton CO2-eq reduce

Links between Domestic Biodigesters and Millennium Development Goals

MDG 1 Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Target 1 To halve extreme poverty
Biogas plants reduce financial and economic costs expended on fuel for cooking and to a lesser extent also lighting. The produced bio-slurry is a potent organic fertiliser and may reduce the use of chemical fertiliser. In general, biogas households are not typically the ones in developing countries that suffer from extreme poverty, although many of them are poor. However, the biogas dissemination process and the resulting reduced claim on common ecosystem services do affect the livelihood conditions of (very) poor non-biogas households as well through:
  • Construction and installation of biogas creates employment for landless rural people.
  • Biogas saving on the use of traditional cooking fuels increases the availability of these fuels for (very) poor members of the community.
MDG 3 Promote gender equality and empower women
Target 4 Eliminate gender disparity in education
Women and girls predominantly spend time and energy on providing traditional energy services. Housekeeping and absence of proper illumination creates barriers for women and girls in accessing education and information as well as their mobility and participation in ‘public’ activities:
  • Domestic biogas reduces the workload –collection of firewood, tending the fire, cleaning soot of cooking utensils - with 2 to 3 hours per household per day.
  • Biogas illumination is highly appreciated for lighting, facilitating reading / education / economic activities during the evening.
MDG 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Target 8 Halt / reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
Half of the world’s population cooks with traditional (mostly biomass based) energy fuels of which the collection becomes increasingly cumbersome. Indoor air pollution from burning of these fuels kills over 1.6 million people each year, out of which indoor smoke claims nearly one million children’s (5) lives per year. Diseases that result from a lack of basic sanitation, and the consequential water contamination, cause an even greater death toll, particularly under small children (5 mortality caused by diarrhoea is approximately 1.5 million persons per year):
  • Biogas stoves substitute conventional cook stoves and energy sources, virtually eliminating indoor smoke pollution and, hence, the related health risks (e.g. respiratory diseases, eye ailments, burning accidents).
  • Biogas greatly reduces the workload involved in the collection of traditional cooking fuels like wood.
  • Biogas significantly improves the sanitary condition of farm yard and its immediate surrounding, lowering the exposure of household members to harmful infections generally related with polluted water and poor sanitation.
  • Proper application of bio-slurry will improve agricultural production (e.g. vegetable gardening), thus contributing to food security for the community.
MDG 7 Ensure environmental sustainability

Domestic biogas can help to achieve sustainable use of natural resources, as well as reducing (GHG) emissions, which protects the local and global environment. Application of bio-slurry increases soil structure and fertility, and reduces the need for application of chemical fertilizer.

Target 9 Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and program and reverse the loss of environmental resources. Particularly larger biogas dissemination programmes have a considerable governance component. As such, they positively influence national policies on sustainable development (e.g. agriculture, forestation) as well as promote participatory governance involving women and other disadvantaged groups.

Target 10 Halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Biogas reduces fresh water pollution as a result of improved management of dung. Connection of the toilet to the biodigester significantly improves the farmyard sanitary condition.