Australia’s MDF partners with Biomass Supplies to promote sustainable agro-energy model in Sri Lanka
The Australian Government-funded Market Development Facility (MDF) has reportedly partnered with bio-resources development company Biomass Supplies (a subsidiary of Biomass Group) in order to promote a sustainable agro-energy model to protect Sri Lanka’s forests, support clean energy generation and improve the livelihoods of rural women and farming communities, local media reports state.
The partnership will support Biomass Supplies to expand its network of farmers by over 13,000, supported by 300 female Village Coordinators and the new farmer network will grow Gliricidia Sepium – commonly known as ‘Gliricidia’ – around their farm plots as fences and harvest branches to generate fuelwood for local industry energy requirements, the Daily FT has reported. This is deforestation-free, sustainable, traceable and certified fuelwood.
According to local media reports, the energy sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Sri Lanka, accounting for 40% of emissions. Without actions to combat climate change, annual energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in Sri Lanka are expected to rise from 10.5 million tons in 2005 to 57 million tons in 2030 (Asian Development Bank).
At present, Sri Lanka’s demand for sustainable energy is largely driven by the manufacturing sector targeting export markets, such as the apparel industry, which are responding to international consumer preferences.
Through this partnership, MDF and Biomass Supplies aims to encourage Sri Lanka’s industries to switch from fossil-based fuels or forest fuelwood to a sustainable, carbon-neutral source of fuelwood. For this, Biomass Supplies will supply woodchips to these industries to meet their clean energy needs.
“Australia is proud to support Biomass Supplies to introduce this source of clean energy for local industries that will generate an additional income for rural farmers and women, through the work of MDF,” Australia’s Acting High Commissioner Amanda Jewell has been quoted as saying in the Daily FT.
“This partnership will connect smallholder farmers with Biomass Supplies as supply sources of sustainable fuelwood for industrial use that has the potential to make a significant contribution to Sri Lanka’s renewable energy needs and combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.”
With MDF support, Biomass Supplies will train 300 new female Village Coordinators to support the farmers with Gliricidia fence cultivation and provide agricultural information, while also helping the farmers sell cash crops directly to agricultural buyers.
Biomass Supplies and MDF will provide the Village Coordinators with access to smartphones to facilitate traceability and coordinate the logistics between the farmer and Biomass Supplies. This will increase the Village Coordinators’ digital literacy and organisational skills and enable farmers to earn higher incomes.
Village Coordinators will also educate the farmers on the use of Gliricidia leaves to make organic fertiliser, pesticide and fungicide, facilitating immediate savings on their agro-chemical inputs.
“What we do is offer hope; an opportunity of a stable income, skill development and a means for a woman to gain financial independence. Partnering with the Market Development Facility and the Australian Government through our shared values will have transformative impact in our agricultural communities in Sri Lanka. And a beautiful demonstration of UN Sustainable Development Goal 17 in action – especially on inclusive development,” Biomass Supplies Founder Lucky Dissanayake has said.
Sri Lanka’s key economic sectors, especially agriculture and energy sectors, are two of the fast expanding industries in the country. Both sectors are looking at developing and uplifting the sectors to be sustainable as well as on par with international standards. The government of Sri Lanka is committed to ensuring the country’s agriculture and energy sectors meet the growing demand in the country and also help in the manufacturing processes. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore explore business opportunities in the promotion of agro-energy in Sri Lanka.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/20210121/Z_3|