Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Nordic Development Fund - biochar project in Nepal

This well funded biochar project is not strictly SEA but great to see this scale of activity kicking off in the region...

Nepal Pilot Project to Test the Climate Change Benefits of Biochar
Project period: 2013-2015
Partner agency: Asian Development Bank

The Pilot Project to Test the Climate Change Benefits of Biochar, is an add-on component to an on-going Strategic Program for Climate Resilience (SPCR) project, Mainstreaming Climate Risk Management in Development, lead by the Asian Development Bank.

The objective of the biochar project is to pilot-test, in three agro-ecological zones of Nepal, biochar production as a climate change adapting soil amendment, carbon sequestration method, and rural energy source in Nepal. Biochar is a stable form of charcoal produced from heating natural organic materials (agricultural waste, woodchips, manure) in a high temperature, low oxygen process known as pyrolysis. Biochar is said to have multiple benefits, both in terms of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change. The aim is to test and demonstrate these benefits in Nepal.

The project will adopt an ecosystem approach, i.e. using things available in the local area to improve food and fuel security and rural energy, while reducing farmers’ dependence on external inputs such as fertilizers and fossil fuels. The target group will be households and farmers, which will be selected from 3 agro-climatic zones using the targeting criteria of degraded land and water stressed environment. The biochar will be produced in biochar cook stoves, which is a type of improved cook stove.

Nepal is a suitable country to pilot test the benefits of biochar due to i) the severe problem of access to rural areas in Nepal, causing many farmers to consistently miss out on agricultural inputs; ii) the scope for piloting biochar in three agro climatic zones; iii) the Government of Nepal’s priority on the agriculture and energy sectors; and iv) the high relative vulnerability of Nepal to climate change.

ADB will be the executing agency, carrying out the procurement and being the contracting party. The Ministry of Agriculture Development will be responsible for coordination and monitoring on behalf of the government. The Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) will take the lead in identifying pilot sites, designing and conducting agronomic field trials and overall project management, while the National Academy for Science and Technology (NAST) will take responsibility for commissioning and testing the two types of pyrolysis units and production and testing of biochar.

The total cost of the biochar component is USD 650,000, approximately EUR 500,000. NDF financing will be EUR 460,000. The Government of Nepal will provide USD 50,000. NDF Contact
Country Program Manager Emeli Möller
Telephone +358 10 618 002

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