Biogas is an ancient fuel (it is first described in documents of the Assyrian empire) that holds great premises for the development of rural areas, since it produces a clean fuel (the biogas), but also produces a high quality fertilizer (the digestate) that not only improves the soil fertility, but can turn farmland under degradation into a productive land.
In the last decade Italian farmers slipped in a serious crisis and in order to come out of the crisis they discovered that a well managed biogas plant could help them in boosting their productivity and regaining competitiveness, thus they named their way to the biogas as #biogasdoneright.
Prompted by these facts (easiness of biogas technology to be implemented even in low tech, rural areas) and prompted by the fact that improving soil fertility will lead to better yield in agriculture, Fabrizio Sibilla has thought to export the biogasdoneright in a small village in Senegal, to improve the villagers' quality of life.
In collaboration with the Diouma school (organized by Evelyne Kleikers and Michela Padovani) and the Italian Biogas Council (CIB), a rural plant for the production of Biogas at the school will be established. The hardware needed will be assembled with local, low cost materials and the expertise will be provided by the CIB, that will send their personnel for the organization of the biogas plant and also will assist the local farmers in reaching an “ecological agricultural intensification” from their field. Local authorities agreed to give 8 ha if land surrounding the village for the start of this test project.
The CIB personnel will install two crops (Opuntia, the well known cactus fig and Italian sainfoin, a nitrogen fixing plant that is an excellent forage and resistant to droughts) in these 8 ha and teach the local farmers how to farm them. The biogas plant will be located at the school but will also serve the local community, especially in form of common kitchens were the village women will be able to meet while cooking and use a clean fuel (poor stoove wood combustion is the highest death case for children under 5 years in developing countries).
The aim of the project is that, once the village farmers will understand the potential hidden in the biogasdoneright, then they will spread the word to the neighbouring villages and teach them what they have learnt, in order to leverage the effect that foreign help can do to improve the quality of locals.