SNV supports promotion of bio-slurry as high value organic fertiliser


Ethiopia gives due attention for promoting organic fertilisers to transform its agriculture. SNV in its Technical Support for National Biogas Programme of Ethiopia (NBPE II) is supporting mainstreaming of bio-slurry in to the agriculture sector for high value organic fertiliser.

Ethiopia is implementing a series of interrelated programmes to achieve agricultural transformation through improved fertiliser consumption which remained at 23.8 kg/ha in contrast to the 62.0 kg/ha for the world and 141.3 kg/ha for  South Africa. Improving the low consumption of fertilisers will be achieved through introduction of inorganic fertilisers, domestically producing inorganic fertilisers and by producing and using organic fertilisers. This has created opportunity to promote organic fertilisers at individual farmer’s level to complement and, if possible, replace the imported inorganic fertilisers.  

SNV Ethiopia is supporting the National Biogas Programme of Ethiopia (NBPE II) in mainstreaming bio-slurry in the agricultural extension system of the country. Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity is the host of the programme that is implemented through the regional governments’ bureaus of energy in partnership with governments’ district energy offices and the emerging private sector. The Programme, co-funded by the Government of Ethiopia and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme with Hivos as the Fund Manager, focuses on maximising the benefits while ensuring the continued effective and efficient operation of the bio-digesters installed.

Bio-slurry, a –co-products of a bio-digester, adds humus and enhances water retention capacity of soil while making better available essential nutrients to plants, thereby increasing and the agriculture productivity.

SNV is supporting the mainstreaming of bio-slurry as high value organic fertiliser to further greening the agriculture sector. SNV is supporting the mainstreaming of bio-slurry as high value organic fertiliser to further greening the agriculture sector. The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR) was brought on-board of the National Biogas Programme Steering Committee, about a year ago. In its capacity as the technical assistance provider, SNV developed the bio-slurry promotion and mainstreaming modality involving stakeholders and shared cases on the uses and benefits of bio-slurry.

This effort has significantly contributed to awareness raising on bio-slurry as high value organic fertiliser in the agriculture sector. Recognising the importance of bio-slurry as organic fertiliser, the State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR), issued a letter acknowledging the efforts made by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and NBPE and urged the four regional bureaus of agriculture and natural resources to promote bio-slurry as an organic fertiliser.

The letter emphasises that bio-slurry, in liquid and composted form improves soil fertility. “Considering this advantage it is decided that bio-slurry should be considered as organic fertiliser in addition to vermi-compost and effective micro-organisms” recommends the letter. 

Saroj Rai, Energy Sector Lead, SNV Ethiopia, said that the decision by the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources is an important breakthrough that moved bio-slurry mainstreaming a step ahead and the narrative of bio-digester promotion from “biogas for cooking and lighting” to “bio-digesters for clean cooking and for high value organic fertiliser”.

Saroj continued, “This is a very big milestone in the process of mainstreaming bio-slurry activities within the agriculture sector - a key element in the bio-digester sector development in Ethiopia, also in line with what the NBPE II programme document envisaged.”

In Ethiopia, over 15,000 digesters are constructed up to the end of 2016. NBPE trains users on bio-slurry’s benefits, utilisation and management.


Saroj Rai

Energy Sector Leader