Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sustainable Intensification 'Can Work for African Farmers'

Smallholder farmers in Africa must participate in research to ensure higher crop yields and to fend off hunger as the continent's population grows, according to a report published on 18 April.

A combination of
traditional knowledge and modern science will be key to achieving higher productivity at lower ecological cost — known as 'sustainable intensification' — the report says.

'Sustainable Intensification: A New Paradigm for African Agriculture' was written by the Montpellier Panel, a group of international experts from the fields of
agriculture, sustainable development, trade, policy and global development.


  • A conjunction of traditional knowledge and modern science is key to African food security
  • 'Sustainable intensification' of farming is not just for big agriculture, it can work for smallholders, too
  • Innovation and technology diffusion are essential for ensuring food security in Africa
The group first met in Montpellier, France, in March 2010, with the aim of helping European policymakers make better decisions in support of food security and agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The new report is a reaction to the growing politicisation of the term 'sustainable intensification', which some now see to be promoting the interests of big, industrial agriculture. Taking a different view, the report claims the sustainable intensification approach can help smallholder farmers grow more crops and protect the

In Sub-Saharan Africa food demand is growing rapidly, while supply is still insufficient. It is estimated that by 2050 the African food production system will be able to meet no more than 13 per cent of the population's needs.

A possible approach to tackling the problem is to reduce food waste by improving supply chains and facilitating access to healthy food. However, the Montpellier Panel maintains that for 80 per cent of the chronically hungry African smallholders, low productivity remains a major issue.

Camilla Toulmin, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and a Montpellier Panel member, believes that a bottom-up approach is "absolutely essential" for sustainable intensification.

"We need to get farmers involved in the process, testing out new crop varieties and new ways to use soil and water," she tells SciDev.Net.

Toulmin adds that, to engage the farmers, "there's no need for a formal meeting platform — you just need to encourage a different way of working".

Along with the other members of the Montpellier Panel, she believes that to improve communication between international researchers and local smallholders, the best solution is to visit affected communities, spend time in villages and fields, and to listen and learn.

"Scientific knowledge can be obtained anywhere — globally or locally," says Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, chief executive of the South African Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and fellow panel member. "But any science must be adapted to local conditions, and policies must be put in place to support implementation."

Majele Sibanda cites the water pockets technique known as zai, pioneered by farmers in Burkina Faso, as an example of a traditional practice recognised by modern science
. Farmers dig holes — or zais — across the fields during the dry season, and fill them with manure to attract termites. The termites then create an extensive network of underground tunnels beneath the holes and bring up nutrients from the deeper soils.

Rainwater is captured in the zais, and
water loss through drainage is limited by the manure. Thus even in drought-prone environments, sufficient water capture to sustain crop yields is ensured.

In the northeast of Burkina Faso, where the zai technique has been practised since the early 1980s, grain yield has increased by 120 per cent, equating to around 80,000 tonnes of extra grain per year.

"The labour in the first year is high, but farmers may reuse the holes or dig more between the existing ones," says Majele Sibanda.
Unai Pascual, a senior lecturer in land economy at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and a professor at the Basque Foundation for Science in Bilbao, Spain, who was not involved in the study, agrees with the panel's calls for the greater involvement of African farmers in research processes.

"Any intervention has to be legitimised by the people it is going to affect or it won't last in the long term," Pascual tells SciDev.Net. He believes that farmers should join scientists in designing new measures, because they are familiar with the complexities of local systems.

"What I would have liked to see in the report is more attention to the time frame of any intervention," he says.

"Interventions need to be carefully balanced," because the relationship between agriculture and local environments is dynamic and changes over time, he explains. "Some funding approaches can work in the short period, but afterwards socio-ecological conditions will change as a consequence."

The report also recommends a range of actions aimed at
governments in developed countries and Africa, to act upon sustainable intensification, in partnerships with the private sector, civil society organisations and NGOs.

These include providing support for research and innovation to help identify suitable technologies and processes; the scaling up and out of such technologies and processes; providing financial investments and markets that support sustainable intensification; and making required inputs and credits accessible to smallholder farmers in Africa.

While there are some interesting developments, it seems as if earlier work by various organisations including IITA, ILCA [ or alternate names for the essentially same organisation] seem to have been omitted from much of the report.

Is it a case of ignorance, or person turnover, so that they need to reinvent the wheel, again and again?

The full report [ a slim volume of 36pp] is a decent read.  But words are getting a bit passe........it is well past the time for some action. 

The link is here -

[ photo of zai farming systems as used in Burkina Faso to improve crop production; more here -
http://www.worldbank.org/afr/ik/iknt80.htm ]

Yes, some parts of Africa have made enormous strides in agricultural productivity, crop yields and "smart" and innovative production systems, but many others have not.  Climate variability does not help - with serious uncertainities unresolved about commencement of the rainy season.
African agriculture has been a laggard generally, in comparison to some other tropical regions, in terms of productivity, yet there are areas of great improvement - and across quite a range of crops.  Getting that translated into a wider area is critical, particularly in light of climate variability and uncertainity.

In northern tropical Australia, some better understanding of the monsoonal rain patterns is helping - not just for agriculture either but industry as well, including the oil and gas industries.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Strong Rumours Indonesia to Increase Live Cattle Imports From Australia

The Director General of Foreign Trade in Indonesia, Bachrul Chairi, has told the ABC that Indonesia will allow more Australian cattle into the country.
Nothing has been officially announced, but a decision to increase import permits for the second quarter is expected soon, as reported by Matt Brann of the ABC Country Hour in Darwin.

The price of beef in Indonesia has soared beyond $10 a kilogram, an astromical price in Indonesia and which is far beyond the means of the average consumer.  That high price has seemingly forced the government's hand, with Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan admitting Indonesia needed to be "open-minded" when it came to its beef supply.

"We will basically open up (trade with) the types of beef that can't be substituted or produced by the Indonesian beef producers," he said.

Local NT livestock producers are hopeful this will occur very soon, in time to move cattle into the country to be fattened and ready for slaughter by Ramadan.  No one is saying much at either end, but it seems that reading between the lines the two industry players in Australia and in Indonesia have been doing a lot of quiet diplomancy, well below the radar, over several months.

There have been a number of visits to Indonesia by local industry people from the NT in the past few months, keeping channels open.  But the real issue, has probably been local meat prices.  And maybe, although no one is probably really stressing this - a realisation that Indonesia cannot yet really provide all the beef required in the country, and that importing live cattle from north Australia is a real win-win for all of the industry players while allowing a much needed price respite and some political quodos for the Indonesian government in reopening the trade.

While the fat lady is not singing, she may well be warming up quietly in the wings about to hit centre stage again.

If it is true, it will be a very big deal for the northern cattle industry that has really been in the doldrums since the cessation of the trade 2 years ago.  Complacency would be a disaster though - so hopefully sensibility on both sides can bring a quiet improvement to the trade for the benefit of all concerned.  And keep it off the media.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Myanmar and Development

Myanmar was, 40 years ago, thought of as potential major agriculture powerhouse.  A lot of Australian and international aid was directed towards agricultural improvement [ true - common around the region as well], as it was thought of as having real production potential and even export of food.

Sadly, that rise in agricultural productivity has not been the case over the intervening period, but is change coming?
neglected rural Myanmar

This recent article is a brief summary of where things are at now, and hints at some positive changes in agriculture that could drive some future development in the sector.

read more here - http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/04/17/myanmar-a-normal-developing-country/

There is a slowly emerging tourist industry as well, but rural development seems a more pressing need in general, with so many citizens in that sector.

Indications are reasonably positive for rural sector growth, but there will no doubt be a few hiccups along the way.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Whiskey Waste to Biofuels - Sustainable Whiskey Production

That cliche - TGIF - Thank God it's Friday -  comes to mind.  Time for something a little more light hearted, although it is actually a serious topic.

The European Parliament's TV channel has published a video looking at a project in Scotland which is aiming to produce high value fuels and products such as biobutanol from the whisky industry's waste.

According to the report around 97% of the products that are used to make whiskey in the distillation process end up as waste, which at the Tullibardine Distillery in Perthshire has to be discarded at a cost of some €293,000 per year.  That is a significant amount of money, so there is money available to invest in something better.  And that is just one whiskey distillery - think of the fact that there are many more in Scotland.

The report explains that while much of this waste has traditionally been recycled as fertiliser and animal feed, the recovery of far more valuable products such as biobutanol – a next generation biofuel – can be produced by refermenting whiskey industry by-products.

According to Mark Simmers, managing director of Celtic Renewable, the idea is to take two low value commodities, or residues and convert them into five or six high value products, including acetone.

The report said that while scaling the five litre lab model up to a 10,000 litre working plant will cost millions, Celtic Renewables is in talks with large companies such as drinks industry giant Diageo and hopes to have a plant in operation by the end of this year.

Reminds me of the story on this blog last year about sustainable rum production.  See the story here:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Food Bowl in Australia?? Real or Media Hype.

Australia as a food bowl for Asia is a concept that just will not seem to go away.

Technically it is possible to increase food production here in Australia but it might need that magical mystery commodity that often is elusive - WATER.

The latest impressario advocating the food bowl concept is Anthony Pratt.  I think he has already proven to be a useful business person after shouldering the mantle of his father at Visy.  But they have interests in irrigation piping, and have been involved in the concept of piping rather than channels for irrigation water in Victoria.  Pragmatic views or vested business interests?

There is more here - http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/in-depth/asia-food-bonanza-our-next-boom-says-anthony-pratt/story-fni2wt8c-1226623037094

[the Austalian is pay walled but think this should be available freely; it might be seen elsewhere]

The food processing side does need to do more but are getting screwed through the major supermarkets and imported manufactured product at low prices.  But......it is interesting to hear that many consumers want Australian grown and processed foods.  Are Chinese vegetables to be trusted, given the issues with food tainting and quality, contaminated land and corruption generally in China?  Many consumers distrust processed food from Asia due to poorer food regulation and safety quality issues. 

The "more agriculture / horticulture and food processing"concept is important, but we need to grow our strengths.

Broadacre crops, including ideas related to precision farming and controlled traffic and livestock production [beef and lamb notably, with chicken too] are two vital areas that can grow without a lot of angst.  With GM crops possibly in the mix as well, especially now that attitudes to this concept seem to be slowly moderating in Europe.  While dairy is getting trashed at the moment over local milk prices, the industry has been internationally focussed for some time and there are growth options in temperate areas - some are being exercised by progressive growers, with sales to Asia, seen as a growth market. 

Meat processing is a labour intensive process, although that is changing, and the new AACo site in Dariwn might showcase some of that and with lower process costs to come from it.  But prices for output is important and need to give a decent return to producers - a tricky business in a world market with options for multi location purchases by Asian countries.

AUSVEG the peak body for vegetable industries, is hopeful that growth is achievable, but where?  Water water water - a major need in temperate Australia.  Vegetable and fruit growers have had a tough time recently but they can grow, but not maybe rapidly, and overhanging debt might be a drag.  

Patch development is a concept that could offer some options in north Australia - with suitable areas of modest size being developed with appropriate soil and water resources [ see report of northern Australia land and water task force of 2010].  Some are under development already with a good example the work of Centre Farm in Alice Springs.  More have been identified in a general sense already, by other entities.  And land tenure issues need to be rectified and adjusted across the north.

Qualified scientists in agriculture have diminished and R and D in the sector is declining  - that would need reversing, and will take time.

Achieving the size advocated in today's newspaper article is many years off.  But playing to our strength is important and agriculture in the broad sense is one of Australia's strengths.  But surely we can do more in the value adding area.

Not to mention the need for better market access for our agricultural products through some free trade agreements, currently stalled  - think Japan and China.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Indonesia to Revise Beef Imports Up - Rumours or Fact?

It has been around the media for a day or so now but the concept as discussed in the media does have some advocates and could be a way forward politically for Indonesia and allow some "face keeping".

That last point is an important issue in Indonesia.

Politically the issue of beef prices is a thorny one, as they have risen considerably, some say astronomically, with major impact on less well off Indonesians, especially those around Jakarta.

The scenario seems to run along lines that the Agriculture minister will be sacked as part of a ministerial reshuffle, with his demise associated with some shady deals concerning possible bribery over beef import quotas.  As part of this adjustment, new import quotas for the second half of 2013 will be developed and would likely be larger to meet surging demand for beef and hopefully reduce local prices.  This might have a flow on to Presidential politics in indonesia, with an election due in 2014. [SBY cannot run though].

The NT could quickly move to supply appropriate animals, as it is believed around 600,000 animals are available locally that are suitable for live export.  However, Australian players in the industry are being extremely coy over the entire issue - and justifiably so.

The new slaughter arrangements are mostly in place, so humane slaughter is possible, meeting most of the issues raised about the initial dramas over live export of cattle to Indonesia.

There is more on the topic here: http://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/news/agriculture/cattle/beef/indo-may-lift-cattle-quotas/2654453.aspx?storypage=0

and here:

but I expect this story will develop over the next few days or weeks.

No one locally is yet cracking a beer or three.........but the deal has all the hallmarks of a workable scenario for various reasons, not least of which is the ability for Indonesia to save face over the deal.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Burning Season - for Carbon Abatement

It has arrived, that time of the year to start burning.

A serious business these days, with early season burning now a fixture on the business scene for those trying to offset carbon emissions.

The science is well established: - in summary, by organising and entering into a medium to long term business arrangement to conduct organised early season burning that well over 100000 tonnes of CO2 can be prevented as an emission, a scenario that had occurred previously with late dry season wildfire burns.  The work is done by local indigenous people, creating a win-win situation of job creation in indigenous communities across the Top End, and a business win by the companies investing in the business of actually getting the job done, and saving them costs of carbon emissions - a carbon offset.
[more here about it - http://www.nailsma.org.au/walfa-west-arnhem-land-fire-abatement-project and there are other articles ]

The early season burn is usually a patch type burn, slow and smouldering, and much lower CO2 emissions.  It is easily controllable, and has less damage on wildlife and trees /shrubs as well, effectively burning the grass vegetation, and not much more.

patch burning

In contrast late season fires are typically wild, driven hard by strong late season winds often from the SE, consume the whole landscape, kill trees and shrubs as well as grass vegetation, and are essentially uncontrollable.  They also have more potential to inflict damage on infrastructure, including fences, buildings and utilities.

Most recent weather forecasts indicate little chance of more rain, and indigenous communities and their rangers will be out soon.

The tell tale signs will be smoke across the horizon on the outskirts of Darwin, Katherine and Nhulunbuy.   

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Australia’s Biosecurity – Ultra Important – Giant African Snail

We laugh [or is it cry?] about the cane toad, that attempt at biocontrol that has become the pernicious invader across north Australia, and even more recently into some parts of Sydney.
There are also biosecurity concerns about various ant species, wild Asian honey bees [ potential host for varroa disease of domestic bees] and numerous weed species that can be hitchhikers into north Australia.

Spare a thought for Florida, USA.  Apart from some crazies who released Burmese pythons into the everglades that have now become quite a serious pest there, the current threat is African Giant Snail.

It seems someone has seriously dropped the ball – was thought to have been eradicated in Miami-Dade County where it is now appearing widely, some years ago.  We are talking of over 100,000 of the creatures captured and killed recently – and there seem to be a lot more coming as the weather warms.
This pest would be a serious, serious, serious problem in Australia if it ever got out of biosecurity measures.  A major one of the methods is container hygiene, along with soil freedom and with rigorous in country pre export as well as post entry inspections, hopefully it might remain as “not here”.

There are a few current newspaper and media reports about the Florida situation – be alert, but not alarmed!



Any suspected sightings in Australia – get in touch with AQIS.  Better still, take care to avoid soil on equipment and shoes, and never – repeat never, bring snail or snail shells into Australia.  Take care.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Australia's Future Workforce

Radio National ran this program over the weekend.

Lots of comment - mostly pretty scathing about the guests and their views.  Comment from those in the real world has been pithy, and irately directed towards the guests on the program.  Quite bluntly - what the hell would a broken down lobbbyist and ex pollie really know about workforce requirements.

I tend to agree.

And many seem to think we have a developing crisis with our future workforce as, bluntly - they are seen as pretty hopeless!  Poor training and too much of the lucky country syndrome of laziness and poor work ethic.  Too used to sitting around, on social media, and not actually doing or working.

Read more here - http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/saturdayextra/future-workforce/4597680.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Big Reductions in US CO2 Emissions are Continuing - Good Stuff!

A report released earlier in 2013 attributed much of the emissions decline to new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy.
 A revolution is transforming how Americans produce, consume, and even think about energy. Traditional sources are in decline, while natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency are on the rise.

These changes, which seem to show no sign of abating so far, have major implications for US economic / national security interests and are increasing the diversity of the country's energy mix, improving energy security, and rapidly shrinking the US 'carbon footprint' - a major positive development for addressing climate change.
A copy of the article with further links in it is available here - http://www.environmental-expert.com/news/us-co2-emissions-fall-to-lowest-level-since-1994-366452?utm_source=News_Air_11042013&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=feattextlink

There are also geo-economic and geopolitical implications for energy policy, relating to the Middle East energy supplies, and has intensified debate in Australia a major gas exporter, about gas reservation policies for local industry……with US domestic industry a major beneficiary of cheap gas especially, because of US policy on that issue.

Friday, April 12, 2013

SRI - System of Rice [or Root] Intensification

Something for nothing? This method of rice growing seems to offer that, with labour replacing other inputs.  Does it work?  It seems to for many, with crop yields substantially increased.

It seems as if yield per plant is once again the driver, and with intensified root proliferation, to extract every last vestige of nutrient and water in the soils.

There is some modern science that supports the concept theory, with microbial activity the driver to extract the nutrients and with organic inputs to create more soil carbon as a significant part of the system.

Whatever, it really has driven some monumental changes in parts of India and other areas and even more recently in Indonesia.


This article is a well put together overview of some of the developments, and there are plenty more to peruse online.  In this article the yield increases are staggeringly large, with world record yields of 22.4 tonnes per hectare!

The concept was started by a Jesuit priest / agronomist in Madagascar, but has spread quite widely.

In Indonesia another aspect has been pushed, which is a curious conundrum.

Us in the developed world seem to be able to afford to pay for organic produce, and some want to exercise that right and use organic produce, with consumers in parts of Europe, Japan  and even China fearful of ordinary produce so will pay big money for organic foods.

Some areas of Indonesia have been cleverly developing export markets for this organic produce side, while also achieving higher yields and lower input costs - a real win for the farmers.  They have achieved organic certified status and are using that to drive better prices and overall much superior returns. More on that story here -
That is a very clever outcome.

While some scientists debate the issue, othes have been strong supporters, including some very senior scientists at major international research institutes.

This is an ongoing debate, and the concept has also been extended to some of the other major food crops.

Some say the labour demands are too high.......but that is often the input most readily available to poorer third world farmers, not cash to buy inputs.  But the yield outcomes seem to apply to local unimproved varieties as well as even advanced GM varieties.

Can this be part of another green revolution in crop yields?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Green Wall Systems

There is a lot of interest in building design as well as more general landscaping, to encourage the use of green wall and green roof systems as part of a sustainability drive in the industry.

While there is little use so far in Darwin, Singapore has been very active in integrating these approaches into building and the environment.  Yet, with hot weather here, the concept of green walls and roof systems does have a lot of merit.  It is well known that green vegetation can be a major factor in providing shade to building walls and roofs, thus reducing heat gain and improving sustainability of design - and appearances too

A new system from Elmich known as Versiwall does offer some interesting concepts including some very clever ideas for dividing and /or external walls that can actively reduce sunlight on building walls and reduce heat gain.

The system has a recyclable plastic frame with specially designed pots that lock onto the wall frame.
A new take on the idea of a wire mesh or similar wall .

The pots can be arranged to match the size of plants to give a dense or not so dense wall cover, at a reasonable cost, and have a specially designed ctch to eliminate the risk of being dislodged, for example, in storms.

Check out the system at www.elmich.com or see the photos below.  Pots are made of a very durable plastic and are modestly priced.

The system is very new to Australia, with the first designs being installed later in the month.
Watering is integrated into the system, and recycled or grey water use is possible.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

GM Bt Cotton and Aphids - Law of Unintended Consequences

Recent field trials seem to have confirmed that BT cotton has had some unintended outcomes with aphids proliferating, and damaging cotton crops.

It seems that the Bt gene has prevented production of natural plant defence chemicals which are stimulated by caterpillar attacks on the plants, and these chemicals in turn deter aphids.

The story is more complex but the link provides a reasonably neat summary.


Up until recently it seemed that the GM cotton story was one that generally had been a very successful option with pesticide use reducing substantially on Bt cotton varieties.

It is not totally clear if economic damage is occurring but it does seem likely that aphids are now a pest in some situations and in some areas.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Biochar May Also Sequester Carbon Dioxide

'Biochar' is the name for charcoal when it is used as a soil amendment. People add charcoal to land in order to increase soil fertility and agricultural productivity.  Water holding capacity in soils is also usually increased.

In addition to these benefits, researchers are now saying that biochar has potential to mitigate climate change as it can help sequester carbon and thus cut our greenhouse gas emissions.
Sean Case, a PhD student at the US NERC's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and lead author of the study says: "We've shown that adding biochar suppresses CO2 emissions very significantly over several years... Previous studies have found this effect in the lab and over short periods, but this is the first time anyone has looked at bioenergy crops in the field, and at the effects of biochar over a long period."
Results of the study show that by applying biochar before planting energy crops, soil greenhouse-gas emissions can be cut by around a third.
Researchers studied a plantation of miscanthus, a perennial grass which is harvested for fuel. They monitored how much CO2, nitrous oxide and methane came from the plot's soil over two years. They also monitored soil emissions under controlled conditions in the lab.
The plots that had been treated with charcoal emitted 37% less greenhouse gases than neighbouring plots that hadn't, while in the lab the impact was 55%. Most of this came from cutting CO2 emissions, with methane playing no significant role and only a small nitrous oxide component.
"There's a lot of interest at the moment in the potential of bioenergy crops to sequester carbon in the soil, because unlike arable land these crops aren't ploughed every year so the carbon is not being regularly disturbed," says co-author Dr Jeanette Whitaker of CEH. "Biochar contains a lot of carbon in its own right, so adding it to the soil is already having an immediate sequestration effect, but our research suggests that it also reduces the CO2 emitted by soil respiration, which makes the case for using it even stronger. It's about maximising the sustainability benefits of bioenergy crops."
Whitaker explains that in the long term, it is unlikely people will use wood as biochar. Instead, biochar can be made out of anything from municipal waste to chicken manure.
Different regions will have different availability of feedstock products, with crop residuals common.



Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Anaerobic Digestion - Is the Time NOW?

Anaerobic digestion seems to have had a recent surge in development around the world.

While small communal facilities are relatively common in rural areas of many less developed countries, including China, where in general they provide a decent contribution to energy and heat, often for hot water, it seems the first world has "discovered"the idea as well.

A recent article has shown an enormous increase in the UK, essentially a doubling of facilities since 2010.  While scale is not mentioned, it seems thay are referring to medium, industrial scale developments, not the sort that featured on Kevin Mcleod's  "Cabin in the Woods" tv show, for a single small weekend cabin.

It is a sensible idea - generate the methane upfront, with the organic residuals then suitable composted, or sometimes even gasified and used for energy.  I prefer the compost route, but not all areas are able to handle the volumes of compost generated.
Nutrients are a critical part of the remainder organics - too much of these are simply transported from farm to city and then lost down the sewer, or as food waste.  That connot continue, as the supply of most nutrients is finite.

The article is here - http://www.waste-management-world.com/articles/2013/03/rapid-expansion--uk-waste-to-biogas-anaerobic-digestion-industry.html

and clearly shows the rapid development in the UK.

Not so sure about Australia, but the trend is likely to develop.  There have seen some smaller systems developed including in WA, but none in the tropical north that I am aware of, yet that is where the bulk of organic residuals from crops - think sugar cane - are generated, along with food waste from cities and towns of modest size that could easily allow for development of suitable digestion and biogas systems.