Kumroj: Nepal’s First Model Biogas VDC



Posted on 14 June 2013  | 
On the occasion of World Environment Day 2013, Kumroj VDC in Chitwan district was declared as Nepal’s first model biogas VDC by Agricultural Development and Forests and Soil Conservation Minister, Tek Bahadur Thapa Gharti. The event was also attended by a number of other government officials and a representative from USAID. Biogas plants have been installed in 1,374 of the 1,750 households in the village, making it the first VDC in the country where more than 80% of households are biogas users. The USAID funded Hariyo Ban Program through the National Trust for Nature Conservation supported the installation of 507 plants. The installation of a further 186 plants in the villages that border the Chitwan National Park was supported by WWF Nepal though its Terai Arc Landscape program. Villages that border the park are hot spots for human-wildlife conflict.

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/yea
r)

By Richa Bhattarai, Communications Associate, Hariyo Ban Program, WWF Nepal

For further information,
Please e-mail: hariyobanprogram@wwfnepal.org

Disclaimer: The Hariyo Ban Program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the responsibility of WWF and its consortium partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

 
A Kumroj-dweller cooks food with the help of her newly installed biogas plant
© WWF Nepal / Kashish Das Shrestha Enlarge
Agricultural Development and Forest and Soil Conservation Minister Tek Bahadur Thapa Gharti inaugurating Kumroj as Nepal's first biogas VDC
© NTNC / Shyam Kumar Thapa Enlarge
Agricultural Development and Forest and Soil Conservation Minister Tek Bahadur Thapa Gharti declaring Kumroj as Nepal's first bio-gas VDC
© WWF Nepal/ Richa Bhattarai Enlarge
One of the 1,374 biogas plants in Kumroj, out of which Hariyo Ban Program supported installation of 507
© WWF Nepal/ Richa Bhattarai Enlarge

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