“First thing in the morning I clean the stable. Adding manure to the Bio-Gas plant with about 50 liters of water is quick morning task that means I can cook for my family all day, ” says Venkatalakshmi, owner of one of the 4,697 biogas plants installed by VFF in India since the beginning of the project.
Venkatalakshmi’s routine is one of many ways rural communities are fighting against climate change and eliminating the need to cut fire wood . “The Bio-Gas project prevents deforestation, improves the health of women, and helps rural families improve their livihoods” explains Nageswara Reedy, Director of Sustainable Agriculture.
Desertification, water scarcity and the disappearance of forest plants are constant challenges for rural families throughout Andhra Pradesh, the second driest state of India. Families with 4 or more cattle are eligible to apply for small grants to build a Bio- Gas plant for their homes.
Beyond renewable energy
According to the United Nations, 85% of rural households in India use firewood. Nageswara Reedy confirms that “women who suffer most from the use of firewood are women who traditionally cook and inhale smoke.” Every day, the Bio-Gas plant can produce enough natural gas to cook 3 meals for a family of seven and eliminate the need to use firewood.
“Before we had the Bio-Gas, we used roughly fourteen thousand rupees per year in butane gas and ten thousand in fertilizer,” said Venkatalakshmi’s eldest son, Vijay Bhaskar, a chemistry graduate who is currently a farmer. “When VFF recommended the installation of the Bio- Gas plant, I did not hesitate because it provides numerous benefits, both for my family and for the environment.”
The head of the Bio-Gas projects, Sathya Narayana, explains how “the gas travels through a pipe connected to the kitchen in the house. The manure solids are able to be removed for fertilizer. It mixes easily with the soil and is surprising not smelly. ”
In addition to improving the quality of life of the local population, Bio-Gas technology contributes to the fight against global warming, according to Sathya Narayana, since “they reduce the emissions of methane to the atmosphere with the processing of cow droppings that produce much of this pollution. ” The diseases related to pollution are the leading cause of premature death in India, with about 620,000 deaths annually.