Samdrupjongkhar Dzongkhag is comprised of eleven geogs and all the geog people have shown keen interest in the Biogas project considering its useful benefits. Out of 343 targets of biogas made by the Dzongkhag Livestock Sector, 219 have been already completed and 200 more are in the pipeline.
The project is aimed to contribute to the national aim of reducing the import of liquid petroleum gas, improving livelihoods of rural farmers and reducing the use of firewood to conserve forest. Under the guidance of the Sector and geog extension officers, the project is running smoothly. Lots of challenges during the project implementation were encountered, like people at the very beginning not knowing the project benefits, difficulties in creating awareness, labour shortage, materials not arriving in time and cowsheds not good enough. In addition, some farmers were not able to afford the biogas installation despite the subsidy from the Government. Despite the challenges faced, responsible people in the Dzongkhag tend to have passion for the job and dedication to the country and rural people.
Biogas is one of the cheapest and cleanest forms of renewable energy. Wet cow dung is used as the raw material in the biogas production in Bhutan. The merits behind the biogas production are not only that it gives extra source of energy; it is an eco friendly and helps in maintaining clean environment. The project also helps people to reduce their workload, saving the traditional fuel such as firewood and air pollution too. These interventions are blessings in rural areas and can be decentralised making it easier to access for those living in remote areas or facing frequent power shortages.
Biogas plants are easy to set up and require very little capital investment. In fact many people in the villages can become self sufficient by utilising biogas plants and waste materials produced by the livestock each day. By implementing biogas, people practice stall feedings where they do not need to fence their crops in order to protect from animals destruction and each household can save at least 100 to 150 numbers of trees to be cut down as a fence annually. Also, cattle do not waste their energy unnecessarily searching the fodder and thus yields more milk.
Besides many advantages, the biogas project also focuses on methane gas reduction which will otherwise lead to ozone depletion and it is also said to be the biggest contributor to the global warming. It improves health aspects of the people and environment and also bio-slurry is said to be very helpful for the growth of commercial vegetable products.
Submitted by Tshewang Norbu, Dzongkhag Veterinary Hospital, Samdrupjongkhar
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