Nicaragua, 22 July 2016:  SNV Nicaragua launched a medium-scale bio-digester that powers irrigation systems, milking equipment and water heaters for washing milking utensils.

The bio-digester was installed on the farm of Wilmer Fernandez, farmer leader and President of the Nicaraguan Dairy Chamber. Fernandez expressed his satisfaction with his new bio-digester: "The biogas system has a major impact on my farm, it provides irrigation and bio-fertiliser for grazing cattle, gears the milking system with which I guarantee the quality and safety of the milk, and provides hot water for disinfecting the milking equipment."

The 27-m3 bio-digester will ensure irrigation for one hour, will power the milking system and the water heater, each for one hour and will provide gas for cooking three daily meals for five people. The resulting bio-slurry will replace chemical fertilisers: the system will generate over 150 m3 of biol, which will significantly improve farm crops. Biol is an organic fertiliser containing nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and micronutrients such as copper, zinc, manganese and magnesium. It improves the growth of plants, increasing crop yields, revitalises crops affected by pests or diseases and strengthens the resistance of plants to climatic changes.

As Emmanuel Bejar from SNV Nicaragua indicated, access to such systems will allow families to reduce firewood consumption, will decrease respiratory diseases and will improve farm productivity by incorporating more environmentally-friendly technologies.

By saving on firewood and gasoline and by replacing the chemical fertilisers with biol, Fernandez will recover his investment in two years. His health and the environment will be positively impacted; cooking on biogas instead of firewood will prevent the emission of approximately five tons of CO2 per year. 

Fernandez' bio-digester installation is part of the Biogas Programme Nicaragua (PBN) that SNV Nicaragua is implementing in partnership with Hivos through a $6.2 million-fund from the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN), the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), SNV, Hivos and local contributions. The PBN programme aims to provide clean energy through biogas for 3,000 small and medium agricultural businesses and rural households in the provinces of Boaco, Matagalpa, Chontales, Jinotega and Rio San Juan. About 1000 families have already adopted biogas systems. The programme provides rigorous quality control for the construction and the operation of the bio-digesters as well as training and technical assistance on the use of biogas and biol for domestic and productive purposes and good livestock production practices.