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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to help the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) scale up the use of biomass waste in the agriculture sector to meet its growing need for clean energy and food security.
The ADB Board of Directors has approved a regional technical assistance project that will be funded by a $4 million grant from the Nordic Development Fund along with counterpart financing of $600,000 from the governments of Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam. ADB will administer the grant and carry out the project in the three countries. Biomass waste―such as rice husks and animal manure―is abundant in GMS countries but is not efficiently used as a source of clean energy or as fertilizer. At the same time, the growing practice of large-scale crop production for biofuel poses a threat to food security by reducing food production and forest land.
“Promoting more efficient use of biomass can simultaneously address the goals of fighting climate change and improving the well-being of the rural poor, which are often seen as competing priorities,” said Sununtar Setboonsarng, Principal Natural Resources and Agriculture Economist, in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.