Oun Kom lives in Ponleu village, Takeo Province Cambodia. She has a family of four. Back in 2007 she didn’t have access to the main electricity grid and depended on firewood for cooking and kerosene lamps for lightening. She owned a small plot on which she cultivated rice and some livestock.
Her life changed drastically when she was introduced to the National Biodigester Programme (NBP) Cambodia. With their help, and the support of the Hivos Klimaatfonds (Dutch), she received a subsidy of 100USD to build a biogas plant. Herewith she was one of the first customers of the NBP, and one of the first to enjoy the benefits of biogas.
Although small – Mrs. Oun owns a biodigster of 4m3 (the smallest size in the program) – she had enough gas to cook on and light her house with.
When, in 2016, Mrs. Oun’s house got connected to the national electricity grid, the urgency of using biogas for electricity faded. But Mrs. Oun had already discovered the other use of a biodigester; she uses the left over bioslurry as fertilizer and applies it directly to her rice field. She explains “bioslurry use has become more perfect each time”. A few years after installation of the biodigester Mrs. Oun installed a compost hut to enrich the bioslurry by adding agriculture waste, making it compost. She now uses the liquid bioslurry for direct application and compost for longer-term soil improvement.
The slurry has been so fruitful that Mrs. Oun has started producing vegetables next to rice. She now earns three times more income per square meter. Her agriculture practices have changed even more. Each cropping season she cultivates another vegetable; from melon to cucumber to cabbage. Plus, Mrs. Oun now also uses bioslurry in the fish pond to earn an extra income.
With the increased income she invested in a solar water pump in 2015. She is using it for irrigation of her fields, but also to pump liquid bioslurry onto the vegetable fields.
Only once she had had a problem with the biodigester. Water was running through the pipes which made it impossible to use. But, it was quickly resolved after calling the technician from the biogas constructing company.
So, what else to hope for? Mrs. Oun is clear, she still wants to extend her farm and would like to raise more chickens. She also hopes that others in her community will install a biodigester. “Of the 248 families in this community, half of them have cattle or pigs and could install a biodigester. I want to do more on promotion so that more people can benefit from biogas and bioslurry” Mrs. Oun says.
Mrs. Ouns biodigester saves approximately five ton CO2 each year. This is converted into carbon credits that are sold to individuals and companies wanting to offset their CO2 emissions. With the earned money, the NBP Cambodia can support more families with installing a biodigester. Till date, the program has installed over 27,000 biodigesters, herewith reduced around 759.000 ton of CO2 emissions. This has helped over 100.000 people. Close to 21.000 households have increased crop yields and income by using bioslurry on their farm. Furthermore, 229.600 ton of wood is saved since the start of the program. See more facts on the benefits gained from the NBP on the Cambodia page.