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FAIRTRADE PROJECT: Clean cooking with biogas, India

  • 3. Good Health
  • 12. Responsible Consumption
  • 13. Climate Action

In India, a large part of the rural population (800 million people) still cook on an open fire. Burning biomass contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and air pollution, adversely affecting the climate and people’s health. In India, more than a million people die every year from inhaling harmful fumes from cooking.

Since 2009, FairClimateFund has been working with its local partner ADATS to supply biogas installations to 12,000 farming families in the Chickballapur district of Karnataka province. Organic waste (mainly cow dung) is converted in an underground bio-digester into methane gas for cooking. About 2 cows are needed to provide an average household with sufficient gas for cooking on a daily basis. 

Cooking with biogas is clean, there is no release of harmful smoke. This means health benefits for the whole family, in particular for women and children. In addition, women no longer have to fetch wood, cooking is easier and faster, and it prevents black soot deposits in the house. On average, women save eight hours a week by using biogas. This time can be spent on family, household or economic activities.

Moreover, the bio slurry is a very good and free alternative to fertilizers., helping to improve agricultural productivity.

Project impacts and benefits: 

Health
  • Clean and safe cooking prevents inhalation of harmful smoke and burns
  • Less physical strain because no more wood has to be collected for cooking
Climate and environment
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by switching to 100% renewable energy
  • Reduced use of wood prevents deforestation
Social
  • Women experience a lot of convenience and can spend more time on family and education
  • Women are less exposed to forms of harassment while collecting wood
Economic
  • Time savings provide opportunities for women to generate more income
  • Reduced expenditure on fuel and fertilizers
  • Local employment through construction and maintenance of biogas installations

Narsamma is a 56-year old farmer who lives in the Chickballapur district. See her story:

“Rich people use gas for cooking and since I use biogas, I feel rich too. Before, I would leave at 08.00 hours to fetch firewood and I would be back around noon. It took me about 16 hours per week to fetch firewood. I had to carry the whole bundle of wood on my head when I went home, and also because I had to cut the wood into smaller pieces. If I didn't have to fetch wood then I would start cooking at 06.00 hours in the morning and finish around 09.00 o'clock. I can cook faster now, so my kids are on time for school. Also, I can work now. I am very grateful.”
Narsamma