Rice farmer Cheng Leng used to spend hours scouring the forest surrounding his Kampong Speu farm for firewood, which then had to be dried for the better part of a day before he could use it. Today, a cistern-like structure behind Leng’s home has spelled the end of the labourious process.
When Leng wants to boil water or cook food for his family of seven, all the 60-year-old farmer has to do is flick a switch and his methane-powered stove sputters to life. “[With biogas] we don’t have smoke in the house like when we burn firewood; it is much better for our health,” Leng told the Post in a recent interview. “When it rains, we also do not have a problem with the firewood getting wet. We can use biogas anytime.”
Leng’s biodigester is just one of some 20,000 that have so far been built around the country by the National Biodigester Programme (NBP) – a project headed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and supported by the Netherlands Development Organisation.