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Tropentag, October 5 - 7, 2004 in Berlin

"Rural Poverty Reduction
through Research for Development and Transformation"

Polyethylene Biodigesters as Energy-providing Sources and Integrated Farming Systems of Rural Household in Cambodia

Vathana Sann1, Loan Chhum Phith2

1Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Institute for Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, Germany
2Royal University of Agriculture, Faculty of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Cambodia


Integrated farming system, a form of conditional exploitation historically and durably, is adapted to the productive dynamics of agro-ecology and the social demands. However, Cambodian agricultural indices are showing a non-sustainable sound. Forestland was degraded from 73% to 66% whereas the permanent pastures were enlarged from 3% to 8% of total land in last decade. Integrated farming system among farmers to ensure the sustainable agriculture, therefore, is encouraged. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the role of polyethylene biodigester as a unit of system and gas producer for cooking. Particularly, it is aimed to assess its effects on Cambodian smallholders and to identify awareness and problems associated with this technology. Data were collected from 50 households in various regions. Digesters are 10.2 m in length, 5.1 cubic metres in volume and cost 25 USD. By loaded 15 kg of manure, biodigester produced 1000 l of gas daily, 50 % are methane. Farmers, especially children and woman can save time in finding (4.4 h/day) and buying fire wood (6.5 USD/month). Biodigesters play roles in raising the disputation of farmer in the community mainly by reduce the problem of wood-finding competitive (80% response), provide more time in other activities (65% response) and home-member healthcare (70% response). Farmers were aware with the role of digesters in farming system. The development of a manure-based duckweed production system and its utilisation as livestock feed is essential for sustainable livestock farming. Aquaculture-biodigester were proposed to introduce to farmers. It is found positive effects of effluent from digester on crop yield especially vegetable and cassava as biofertiliser. Water-born and food-born diseases were reduced. Household incomes were generated and alleviate the problem of energy shortage. However, only few farmers in the community used biogas in practice due mainly to the high cost of the digesters, difficulty in installing and in getting spare parts. The biogas programs developed only under substantial support from projects. Promote the low-cost biodigester technology; therefore, is aiming at reducing the production cost by using local materials and simplifying its operation.

Keywords: Biodigester, energy source, integrated farming system

Contact Address: Vathana Sann, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Institute for Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, Kellnerweg 6, 37077 Göttingen, Germany, e-mail: vathana20@yahoo.com

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