Unsustainable agricultural practices in India are taking a toll on smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. The constant use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides has decreased soil health and quality, contributing to low productivity. This causes multiple negative consequences: (1) it generates incentives to clear virgin land in order to extend farming areas, thus contributing to deforestation; (2) it contributes to the contamination of groundwater and precious water resources; and (3) it depletes soil nutrients that generally support for food production.
In addition, farmers in India often do not have reliable access to affordable, clean energy to cover their household and farming needs. They typically rely on wood fuel or liquified petroleum gas (LPG), if available. Wood fuel consumption impacts health is time consuming and threatens India’s natural ecosystem. On average, an Indian smallholder farmer can use about 3.5 tons of wood per year. A smallholder farmer also spends around 120 USD on LPG per year to cover basic energy needs in the household, an expensive addition to the household living cost.
The Sistema.bio innovation is a market-based solution that offers a package of waste-to-energy technologies for smallholder farmers that reduces their costs, increases their agricultural yields, and improves the overall efficiency and sustainability of their farms. To achieve this, farmers use Sistema.bio biodigesters to convert animal and agricultural waste into biogas (a clean, renewable energy source), and biofertilizer (an effective organic fertilizer and soil amendment). Fertilizer improves access to nutrients for plants and their soil base and reduces costs and the health and environmental damage from chemical fertilizers. By adding waste treatment to the household, odors, flies, and water contamination risks are greatly reduced. Sistema.bio markets and sells this clean technology directly to farmers with a financing, service, and training package that ensures access and adoption by farmers at the base of the pyramid. The biodigesters can also entirely or mostly displace the costs on LPG. The biogas is also a reliable source of energy that can be used for cooking, heating water, and running mechanical appliances on the farm.
Sistema.bio technology has over ten years of installed field service, proven on a wide range of farms and in climate zones around the world. The patented modular, hybrid-reactor technology operates in farm environments with extremely high efficiency (about 88% of waste is turned into biogas) and durability. The reactors are paired with a range of biogas technology products including stoves, boilers, and engines which are adapted to meet local preferences and support sustainable food production. The technology is supported with a robust training program for farmers that has been refined during years of field work spent focused on biogas system use and improving agricultural production practices.
5 ways social entrepreneurs are helping farmers feed the world (World Economic Forum)
Sistema.bio nominated for Ashden award (Standard Group)
Demonstrating the Potential of Biogas to Contribute to the SDGs (Shell Foundation)
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