Farmer and businessman Carlos Artola from Matiguas is very happy with the savings he has achieved from his businesses including his farm, restaurant and sweet tortilla factory. These savings have been gained thanks to a biogas system, which provides him with enough energy to meet the needs of his businesses and bio fertilizer for his crops.

With the biogas supplied by a 9 cubic meters bio-digester, Mr. Artola saves 3,500 cordobas (US$ 116) per month and about 42,000 cordobas (US$ 1,400) per year. Previously, he had to buy several tanks of propane LPG per month, in order to efficiently run his restaurant and the sweet tortilla factory.

His biogas system is a Nicaraguan fixed dome and has a useful life of more than 30 years. His investment will be recovered within a year, through savings made from the purchase of LPG and by replacing chemical fertilizer with biol. There are also a number of significant health and environmental benefits to be considered.

The bio-digester generates a daily production of 7 drums of 20 litres of bio fertilizer, biol, and biogas which will facilitate 10 hours cooking on a stove.

Mr. Artola uses biol in several ways on his farm. He applies it to all his crops including; bananas, mangos, annattos and cocoa. He also used to improve his pasture. In addition, he applies it on his son's coffee farm and has noted that "the coffee plants are green and producing more fruit. We are really starting to see the results," he added.

Biol is an organic fertilizer that provides nutrients to soil and plants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and micronutrients such as copper, zinc, manganese and magnesium.

He explained that until the introduction of the biogas system, he had an issue with staff turnover because they did not like working in the sweet tortilla factory due to the smoke from the firewood. He notes that “we do not have that problem anymore since starting to operate a biogas kitchen”.

Access to energy enables families to reduce firewood consumption which, in turn, reduces respiratory diseases, and improves farm productivity by incorporating more eco-efficient production technologies. Mr. Artola said that “the biogas system has now brought significant benefits to his family health”. He recalled that unfortunately his mother, has lung problems due to inhaling firewood smoke while cooking in their food business.

Judit Vanegas, Communications Advisor reported that “more than a thousand rural families as well as Mr. Carlos Artola have improved their quality of life with biogas systems”. She added that “the Biogas Programme continues to support the initiative with an incentive bonus of $ 480 dollars which make the adoption of technology more accessible.”

The system was installed under the framework of the PBN Programme which is being implemented by SNV in partnership with HIVOS, through an investment of US$ 6.2 million from the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN), the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), SNV, HIVOS and local contributions.