Improving sustainability of rural livelihoods in Son La province, Northwest Vietnam: Potential of use of biogas digesters
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This thesis is based on a research conducted in 2007 in Son La province, Northwest Vietnam, during a transitional phase of the Vietnam Biogas Programme. After its initial success among relatively better-off farmers in peri-urban areas of plateau provinces, an extension of the programme was planned, with focus on reaching more poorer population. Therefore, Son La province was chosen among several others for the transitional phase, being one of the poorest provinces of Vietnam.The research studied impacts of use of biogas digesters on livelihoods of their new users in specific conditions of remote, mountainous province of Son La, in order to see if this technology can contribute to higher degree of their sustainability. The potential for further dissemination within the province was also investigated. The results of the research showed positive impacts that did not varied significantly from other provinces. After switching to biogas, households experienced monetary savings on cooking fuels and/or savings in time for their collection and for food preparation, reduced indoor air pollution and cleaner farmyard. Bioslurry was not yet replacing chemical fertilizers, thus resulting in no additional monetary savings. There is potential for further dissemination of the biogas technology in Son La, however limitations exist especially in more remote parts of the province.