Kumroj: Nepal’s First Model Biogas VDC
Speaking at the event, Minister Gharti said, “The use of biogas not only helps to reduce the use of firewood, thereby decreasing pressure on the forests, but is also a much healthier fuel. Agricultural development is essential for national progress, and the use of biogas slurry as an organic fertilizer will help to ensure healthy crops. Biogas plants require cattle which also provide nutrition to families and communities and can open up new livelihood opportunities. Also, biogas projects introduce communities to toilets – communities with toilets are healthier communities. Kumroj VDC is a fantastic example of best practice. I hope that other VDCs in the country will follow Kumroj’s lead.”
Biogas plants in Kumroj are expected to reduce fuel wood consumption by around 3,345 tons per annum1. Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 10,168 tons per year2 . In addition, each household will save an average of three person hours per day – the time that was previously spent foraging for firewood. Judy Oglethorpe, Chief of Party for the Hariyo Ban Program adds, “Biogas plants also help to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. If a household has biogas, there is no longer a need for people to visit forest areas for firewood and risk potential confrontation with wild animals.”
Efforts to encourage an entire VDC to switch to biogas have been ongoing since 1995. Initial collaborations with donor organizations to install biogas plants were forged by the National Trust for Nature Conservation and the Budhi Rapti Buffer Zone User Committee. The hard work of all involved has certainly paid dividends in Kumroj as Kul Prasad Bhusal, Chairman of the Budhi Rapti Buffer Zone Consumer Group, explains: “We are proud of what we have achieved with biogas. It was certainly all worth it. By installing biogas plants in clusters, rather than individually, we have significantly reduced pressure on the surrounding forests.” Bhusal also told us about plans to develop Kumroj as an eco-tourism destination by establishing a home-stay village to attract tourists from Sauraha (a nearby tourist hub).
1 BSP Annual Report 2011/2012 (fuel wood saving per plant 2.50 tons/year)
2 BSP Annual Report 2011/2012 (average annual reduction of GHG per plant 7.40 tons/year)
By Richa Bhattarai, Communications Associate, Hariyo Ban Program, WWF Nepal
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