Biodigesters in Zambia: Flourishing gardens and no need to look for firewood

Biodigesters in Zambia: Flourishing gardens and no need to look for firewood

Households in rural Zambia benefit from a new biogas technology introduced by People in Need. Now people can cook easily on biogas cookers, while also benefitting from organic fertilizer.

Ngebe Kambeya is excited about a new biogas plant. “My garden is flourishing. We are eating vegetables from it and enjoying them. By this time last season when we had planted rape, our garden was infested with aphids and numerous pests but now our crops are healthy,” says Kambeya, who lives in a small village near the town on Mongu in Zambia.

Thanks to funding from the Czech Republic, People in Need constructed 10 biodigesters for low-income households. Biodigesters have multiple economic, social, environmental and health benefits and PIN envisions spreading this climate smart technology among the wider population.

Source of organic fertilizer 

Biodigesters use animal dung to produce cooking gas and excellent organic fertilizer. The bio gas plant also saves households a lot of time, which gives them an opportunity to improve their economic situation. Apart from using the biodigester as an energy source to power gas stoves, farmers can use the bioslurry, an organic fertiliser.

Using bioslurry, Ngebe Kambeya has been able to tend to her crops without spending any money on artificial fertilizer or pesticide.

Gardening for the first time

Nyambe Simakando, who also uses one of the ten biodigesters, now has a garden for the very first time. She likes using the bio slurry and is excited to see how her vegetables are growing. “We did not have a garden before, but now we are eating our vegetables from our new garden and we are planning to grow even more crops. In December we will have an even bigger garden,” she says.

For women especially, the biodigester is a huge time and energy saver, precluding the need to go far into the bush to collect firewood. “In the past it would take a long time going around to collect firewood. Now our food doesn’t have the smell of smoke and it takes much less time to prepare it,” says Ngebe Kambeya. Now just at the twist of a knob she can switch on her stove and cook.

Author: Sheena Millapo