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Mount Holyoke College

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Viet Nam: Ecology and Sustainability in the Mekong Delta

Abstract

The Mekong Delta hosts suitable conditions for promoting the widespread dissemination of biogas systems, such as tropical temperatures, high population density, and widespread animal husbandry. The low-cost polyethylene biodigester (BD) is the most common model in the Mekong Delta, although concrete and brick biodigesters have been implemented to a lesser extent. Biogas systems offer a wide range of benefits, such as improving water quality, enhancing integrated farming systems, and meeting rural energy demand while improving public health. Many projects, especially through Can Tho University (CTU), have promoted the installation of biogas systems, but little research has been done to follow up on the realized benefits and challenges to biogas users. This paper attempts to document some of the challenges in maintaining small-scale biogas systems and avenues in promoting their widespread dissemination in Can Tho City. Eighteen interviews were conducted, six in each of three villages, An Binh, Long Tuyen and My Khanh, to gather quantitative and qualitative information. Local farmers in each village made introductions to households with a biogas system. Background information was collected from interviews with local government officials of Phong Dien district, the Can Tho City Slaughterhouse, and the Dean of the College of Technology of CTU. Information gathered from 8 farmers with concrete/brick BDs (7 of which are fixed dome models) and 10 farmers with polyethylene BDs indicate a high level of environmental awareness. The greatest concern is the profitability of pigs due to low prices and high price of pig feed. Maintaining a large number of pigs (over 10), breeding pigs to reduce costs, and relying on alternative incomes are great factors in the continuation of individual biogas systems. The dissemination of concrete/brick BDs can be promoted by creating a commercially viable sector that offers little or no subsidy and targets current plastic BD users and large pig farm holders. Local, willing farmers in rural areas should be continued to be trained by CTU and work with NGOs in learning the skills to install and maintain biogas systems. Scientists should work closely with local farmers to identify areas of improvement and convert feedback into researchable problems.

Disciplines

Natural Resources Management and Policy | Oil, Gas, and Energy

 
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