GEA supporting groups, individuals with low budget biodigesters

GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) is providing support to groups and individuals across Guyana with low budget biodigesters to utilise waste more effectively.

Energy Engineer, Guyana Energy Authority, Kenny Samaroo

Energy Engineer, Guyana Energy Authority, Kenny Samaroo

One such beneficiary is the Flavour Shore farmers group, Region 10, previously called the Half Mile Farmers Group.

A biodigester is a system which breaks down organic waste including compost, manure or sewage waste.

GEA’s Energy Engineer, Kenny Samaroo, told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that one of the major benefits of using a biodigester is that it provides free gas for cooking and lighting, and it is also an environmentally friendly way of getting rid of farm waste or residue. He pointed out that the residue from the biodigester can be used on plants or in gardens.

The engineer explained that in setting up the biodigester, one has to have the feed stock, plastic and PVC fittings for the equipment, after which the GEA’s officials can be contacted to inspect and complete the necessary steps. There is no cost attached.

The biodigester supported by the Guyana Energy Authority and used by the Flavour Shore Farmers group

The biodigester supported by the Guyana Energy Authority and used by the Flavour Shore Farmers group

The balloon type biodigester is constructed with a UV (Ultra Violet) plastic with two pipes attached at the ends; one end is used for feeding, and the other, to expel the waste.

“The bulk of the cost is the plastic, but we have been promoting this biodigester so we have been providing the plastic free, which costs $60,000 per biodigester, to interested persons,” Samaroo explained.

Biodigesters are safe, he stated, but one must be cautious when operating them. Samaroo highlighted that once the equipment is installed and started, persons who use it are trained or informed on how to keep it functioning, “because we’re not available to be on the ground everyday so all they have to do is gather the manure and feed it into the biodigester and if you use it often you need to feed and recharge it often.”

Meanwhile, member of the Flavour Shore farmers group, Roxanne Edwards said the biodigester makes production easier on her farm. Edwards noted that the equipment was installed by the Ministry of Agriculture during the previous administration, but it never worked. However, when she contacted GEA for assistance it was immediately provided.

Member of the Flavour Shore Group, Roxanne Edwards displaying some of the products produced by the group

Member of the Flavour Shore Group, Roxanne Edwards displaying some of the products produced by the group

“We were able to get GEA to come in and help us to get the tank functioning, the biodigester functioning, I don’t think that we could have got it better  than what we have now, we would use these tanks to adjust it to our oven that we do the ham,” Edwards explained.

Edwards pointed out that the group has been in existence for over 16 years and consists of 13 members who were trained at the Guyana School of Agriculture.

Additionally, the group was set up as a pillar for development for the Half Mile community, Linden. “I feel that learning is power, and I was given an opportunity to learn so we would teach the children the same. I have developed greatly. I don’t have a problem teaching and helping people in the area, we want to target the school leavers and see how we can bring them out and teach them a thing or two,” Edwards emphasised.

She expressed her gratitude for the assistance of the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) that helps the group with labelling and food handling. The products offered by the group include, virgin coconut oil, shampoo, body lotions, ham, sausage, and bacon.

 

By Ranetta Lafleur

 

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