The Regional Development Bank (RDB) in Western Province has granted a loan for LKR 200,000 to a piggery-owner, Ruwan Kumara living in Kaduwela to construct a bio-digester system. This was the first loan of its kind granted to a domestic stakeholder for renewable energy purposes at an annual interest rate of 7.8% through the EU funded SWITCH-Asia initiative on “Up-scaling Biogas Technology for Sustainable Development and Mitigating Climate Change in Sri Lanka” that as part of its project plan works towards encouraging loan schemes for those who wish to opt for bio-digester installation in their premises.
The loan granted through the project in conjunction with the RDB Homagama Branch, was for a Sri Lak Umaga type 15m3sized bio-digester. Following the issuance of the first loan, the RDB has already received three more loan requests from livestock farmers of Attanagalla. The bank has taken a special interest in providing loans to biogas units siting it as a social need to promote renewable energy options among its clientele, which will help to preserve our environment.
“The Central Bank already has a loan scheme in place for waste management projects called ‘Saubhagya’ that gives out loans at the interest rate of 8%. As Regional Development Bank we are extremely pleased to have been a part of the first loan granted for a biogas project. We have more potential applicants lined up that our field officers are inquiring to verify for suitability. In future, we look forward to granting more loans for biogas and other renewable energy projects for smallholders, farmers and individuals,” said Regional Development Bank Western Province Manager AHMMB Jayasinghe.
The EU funded SWITCH-Asia initiative’s primary target objectives include the promotion of biogas technology to tourism and domestic sectors by means of providing a solution for waste management, encouraging sustainable consumption and production and in the long run, as an alternate source of energy, and further creating general awareness on the technology to the public. Apart from this, the project has been training small and medium entrepreneurs in the technology and equipping them with the required skillset to design, construct and market biogas and also act as a connecting agent between biogas vendors and potential consumers. With the introduction of the loan scheme, another intended milestone has been completed: making renewable technology an affordable choice for all.
The EU SWITCH-Asia initiative is a joint partnership between People in Need, Cz and local partner Janathakshan funded by the European Union. The project is focused on up-scaling biogas technologies for sustainable development, responsible tourism, economic growth contributing to poverty reduction and climate change mitigation in Sri Lanka. The project targets tourism Small and Medium Enterprises, households and public authorities in the country while building the technical capacity of manufacture and construction SMEs in biogas technologies. The project also supports micro-finance institutions to develop financial schemes providing loans for biogas installations to SMEs and households. Furthermore, the training and capacity building component of the initiative assists local construction sector to enhance its technical and entrepreneurial competences regarding manufacturing and installation of biogas systems.