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Small-Scale Biogas Plants in Vietnam: How are They Affected by Policy Issues?

Blog post by: Sheriff Noi

This blog post emerged as one of the five winners of the YPARD/AGRINATURA/AgriSciences Platform E-Competition: SHARE YOUR STORY! for the MSc and BSc Category. The competition which was tagged your Research your Story! aimed to help students have a better sense of ownership of their research and to communicate the most important parts of their research in a creative easy to read storytelling way.

Enjoy reading!

Feeding the world in 2050 and addressing climate change has been a global concern for the past few decades. Hundreds of countries have signed several treaties and agreements to address these challenges. Being Asia's country with the biggest greenhouse gas emissions, Vietnam is not left out in this race. Thanks to a rapidly growing cattle industry, the country produces more than 80% of its livestock consumption.

Livestock has been linked to climate change due to abnormal digestion and methane gas production by organic waste. Aside from climate change, the government is falling behind on other sustainable development targets such as access to clean and inexpensive energy. Even though Vietnam is a signatory to many global climate change and sustainability treaties, the government has launched a national policy known as the Vietnam National Biogas Programme (VNBP) to address issues such as energy supply and organic waste management. Thousands of small-scale biogas facilities have been erected around Vietnam as part of the Vietnam National Biogas Program.

Biogas experts discovered that, despite several renewable energy and climate change policies in Vietnam, the VNBP was the most popular policy among stakeholders and thus was the major driving force for NGOs and international organizations focused on climate change and rural areas development to undertake several biogas projects. This has increased the value chain of biogas in Vietnam while also creating jobs for masons all around the country.

Nonetheless, there are several obstacles to this biogas program, including co-financing, low-tech plants, and a reaction from other energy policy instruments that lower the cost of traditional fuels, making biogas more expensive. Projects and programs focusing on small-scale biogas plants, on the other hand, have been chastised for setting unrealistic goals that are difficult to verify by beneficiaries, resulting in limited involvement in biogas projects and programs.

Finally, as Vietnam's livestock industry transitions from small-scale to large-scale production, the biogas industry is expected to transition from small-scale to industrial production. To prevent the small-scale biogas business in Vietnam from going out as the transition gradually achieves its height, legislative support is needed. Furthermore, because Vietnam's biogas industry is partially market-based, the government must adopt policies to protect small-scale biogas producers against inferior biogas technologies. In addition to realizing the idea of change, small-scale biogas initiatives in Vietnam should encourage recipients to invest in their long-term livelihood rather than rely on it.

Picture credit: Sheriff Noi

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Friday, 01 December 2023

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