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From navigation waters to watering plants

From navigation waters to watering plants

Like in many countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the tourism sector on Lombok island, Indonesia. The restrictions of travel at local, national and global level in response to the pandemic has significantly reduced the number of tourists to the island. For rafting guide Angga Pratama, 28, this has come as a bombshell. He previously received an average of 12 tourists a day, giving him a steady daily income. Unfortunately, the pandemic situation has forced the recreational rafting business to close and therefore caused Angga and his colleagues to lose their jobs.

Changing career

Angga had to find a new way to generate an income. Utilizing the existing land of Lombok rafting, Angga and his colleagues decided to grow crops, vegetables, and breed fish.  As a positive coincidence, BIRU (Indonesia Domestic Biogas Program) just introduced BioMiru (Mini Home Biogas) in Lombok and selected Lombak Rafting as the first location for the project. The owner had requested this as he was looking to find a solution to manage the alarming level of organic waste produced form the business’ kitchen and to reduce the costs spend on LPG. BioMiru has become a practical solution to this problem as it turns the kitchen waste into a valuable resource for cooking.

Bio slurry

The new biogas system has come in handy for Angga as the biogas digester produces, next to gas for cooking, a nutrient rich bio slurry that can be watered down into a fertilizer for gardens or farms. Angga and his colleagues use the bio slurry free of charge and, on top of that, receive training from BIRU to improve the bio slurry usage. Angga is now applying bio slurry to grow horticultural crops and vegetables, such as chilies, tomatoes, long beans, bok choy, celery and brown rice, for sales purposes. In a few months his hard work paid off. The organic fertilizer has improved the quality of soil and agricultural production and Angga is now earning an average income of USD 7 to USD 14 every day from the farming. The same amount he made as a rafting guide.

Angga said that once the situation returns to normal and he and his colleagues can return to being a rafting guide, they will continue the practice of organic farming using bio slurry to earn an extra income.

Hivos and BIRU

Angga Pratama is one of the farmers benefitting BIRU, the Indonesia Domestic Biogas Program (IDBP) initiated by Hivos in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) in 2009 and then implemented by the Yayasan Rumah Energi (YRE) in 2012. The BIRU program is a program that aims to disseminate renewable energy programs through the use of biogas as a clean energy source for cooking and the use of bio slurry (biogas waste) as a natural fertilizer.

By 2019, the program benefitted 116,189 people, created 1,432 new jobs and reduces 2.6 ton carbon dioxide emissions per year per digester. Herewith verifiably contributing to Sustainable Development Goals 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 5 (gender equality), 7 (affordable and clean energy) and 13 (climate action).