News Releases

Dec 23, 2011

MIF, Nordic Development Fund launch biogas program for Nicaraguan farmers

Program to bring renewable energy to 6,000 small agricultural producers and rural households

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group, is partnering with the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and two Dutch non-governmental organizations, Hivos and SNV, to launch a $6.3 million biogas market development program that will bring renewable energy to small farmers in Nicaragua and contribute to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Biogas is a proven and established renewable energy technology that enables millions of farmers and rural households across the globe to convert agricultural waste into a combustible methane gas to meet their energy needs. The project, the first to be approved under a comprehensive biogas program targeting small agricultural producers in Latin America and the Caribbean, will bring renewable energy to 6,000 small farmers and rural households in Nicaragua.

“The initiative will adapt and transfer knowledge, practices and successful business models from biogas programs implemented across Asia, where it is in widespread use,” said MIF project team leader Zachary Levey. “The program creates new economic and social opportunities for many underserved populations of rural Nicaragua by developing a market for a relatively low-cost, renewable energy technology.”

Biogas technology holds great potential for improving access to energy in rural areas of the country. Biogas plants can generate electricity and heating, organic liquid fertilizer and high-quality solids for soil amendment. When used for cooking, biogas can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and indoor air pollution, compared to other traditional fuels such as charcoal.

The project will provide training, marketing, quality control, business development support and market research to develop a market for biogas products and services. It will also work with agricultural organizations to create local advisory capacities on the application of biofertilizer, improvements in farm production and correct use and maintenance of biogas systems. Activities will initially target small and medium-size dairy producers in the departments of Boaco, Matagalpa, Chontales, Rio San Juan and Leon.

Nicaragua suffers from one of the lowest electrification rates in Latin America, particularly in rural areas. Rural households in the country typically rely on wood for cooking, which can lead to chronic respiratory illnesses, especially among women and children, who traditionally spend more time in the household.

About the MIF

Established in 1993 as part of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) was created to develop effective approaches to support economic growth and poverty reduction through private sector-led development in support of micro, small and medium enterprises benefitting the poor—their businesses, their farms, and their households.

About the NDF

The Nordic Development Fund is a multilateral financing institution established by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. NDF provides financing for climate change-related interventions in low-income countries, in cooperation with other financing institutions.

About SNV

SNV is a non-profit international development organization established in the Netherlands in 1965. SNV has been present on the ground in developing countries for over 40 years, and now operates in 36 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Balkans.

About Hivos

Hivos is a Dutch development organization guided by humanist values. Together with local civil society organizations in developing countries, Hivos wants to contribute to a free, fair and sustainable world, in which all citizens – both women and men – have equal access to opportunities and resources for development and can participate actively and equally in decision-making processes that determine their lives, their society and their future. 

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