Innovative microcredits for Cambodian biogas users


News

A total of 5,800 households in 13 Cambodian provinces have benefited from biodigester loans amounting to USD 3 million with SNV's assistance. The microfinance institution PRASAC and the SNV-supported National Biodigester Programme (NBP) in Cambodia have been collaborating since 2007 to provide loans to households willing to invest in a biodigester.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA) General Assembly in Siem Reap, President and CEO of PRASAC, Sim Senacheert said, "The institution is committed to providing and developing more green financing to the rural people for their livelihood improvement and environmental protection in particular."

The Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) financially assists PRASAC, and another national microfinance institution,AMRET, to tailor this biodigester construction credit for households. It is important for households who are willing to invest in a biodigester to have access to microcredits through a credit provider.

SNV supported the NBP in setting-up the credit scheme, which offers special loan conditions for biodigesters constructed under NBP. The conditions of the credit, 1.2 % interest per month on outstanding principle and two years running time, are acceptable to most potential clients. The latest figures show that over 70 % of new biodigester owners opt for this special investment credit.

More than 90 % of the rural population in Cambodia relies on traditional energy sources for cooking.  Women and children especially are exposed to harmful fumes when cooking with firewood.

Since 2005, SNV has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) in Cambodia to develop a commercially-viable biogas sector. SNV provides technical assistance to the NBP, which celebrated its 15,000th biodigester earlier this year.