Animal Waste-Powered Cooking Fuel Now A Trend In Benguet

HAVE you ever heard of animal and human wastes being used as substitute cooking fuel?
In the mountainous areas of the province of Benguet, this is fast becoming a trend after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) introduced the biogas digester, which processes animal wastes into methane gas for cooking. It is one of the major components of the community-managed potable water supply, sanitation and hygiene (Cpwash) project.
Kapangan, Benguet municipal agrarian reform officer Jane D. Toribio said the quest for alternative fuel has taken a new twist in the upland province of Benguet, with animal and human waste and even plant leftovers being used as raw materials for cooking fuel.
Toribio said the technology is seen to have high impact on the environment and the lives of the community as it helps minimized “kaingin operation,” the cutting and clearing of a particular area of trees for firewood and charcoal production. The area cleared, on the other hand, is either cultivated into a farm or simply left idle.
“This is a very good and climate-friendly technology for it helps reduce the dependency of our upland people on firewood and charcoal and save whatever is left of our fast dwindling forested area,” Toribio told visiting journalists during the “Lakbay ARC (agrarian reform community)” organized recently by the DAR-Public Affairs Staff.
Joni Ng, an agrarian reform beneficiary in Barangay Tabaao where the technology was pilot-tested, said he is impressed. He described the technology as a good “alternate cooking fuel” that can give the popular liquefied petroleum gas a run for its money.
Ng said he maintains in his pigpen five regular sized pigs, whose wastes serve as raw materials for his biogas digester. The digester is designed after an ordinary septic tank only that it is jar-shaped and carefully crafted to ensure there is no leak. A rubberized tube, from which the gas flows, is attached to a nearby improvised cooking device.
“It’s very useful. Besides being environment-friendly, it is free,” Ng said, adding that he uses cut off soft branches and leaves of plants because the wastes of his five regular-sized pigs’ are not sufficient to produce enough gas. Maintaining at least three adult pigs is ideal to supply the digester of the waste needed.
Toribio, a doctor of philosophy graduate, said the technology has a dual purpose since the processed animal and human wastes leave compost materials that can be reduced as organic fertilizer to enhance soil condition.
“Don’t worry, the biogas digester does not emit foul odor since the wastes are enclosed and secluded inside the facility, thus, controlling the unpleasant odor while improving the solid wastes disposal in the community,” Toribio said.
Kapangan Mayor Roberto Canuto and Rep. Ronald Cosalan said they find the technology very impressive. They approved the replication of the said technology in other barangays.
The project cost of P920,000. Mayor Canuto provided P600,000; Rep. Cosalan, P250,000; and the DAR shouldered the rest. The funds were used for the purchase of materials, professional service fee and the conduct of social preparation and capacity building activities of the community-based organizations.