Rural Support Programmes (RSPs) Response to 2022 Heavy Rains and Floods Affected Areas of Pakistan

Appeal for Donation

EKN-RSPN Pakistan Domestic Biogas Programme (PDBP)

Current Status

  • 5,360 plants have been constructed (by December 2014) in 12 districts of central Punjab
  • More than 42,880 satisfied beneficiaries.
  • PDBP has achieved success with 96% client satisfaction (as per third party Biogas User Survey 2014)
  • 450 masons have been trained – 50 BCCs registered, 28 BCCs working efficiently after the phase-out of PDBP
  • PDBP has successfully constructed 6 biogas plants of 50 cubic meter and 10 plants of 100 cubic meters for electricity generation under research & development. All large biogas plants are fully functional.

Total Completed Plants: 5,360

During the period the vision was to set up 300,000 biogas plants across Pakistan which will adhere to all guidelines required for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) so that Carbon Credits obtained from the programme can be redeemed and utilized for further expansion of the programme. The first module of PDBP supported by EKN constructed 5,360 domestic biogas plants in Central Punjab. To ensure that the vision materialized, partnerships and agreements with various stakeholders such as RSPs, Government Organizations, Micro Finance Institutions, NGO’s were formulated. Strong, dynamic and profitable biogas construction companies would eventually constitute significant component of the new and viable biogas sector in the country.

Operations initiated in central Punjab and then subsequently expanded to various parts of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan provinces. In order to be able to provide adequate support, provincial biogas offices were established in the provinces/regions and Quality Control Centre’s were established to support their activities. Programme Strategy and Approach

The programme fits within a larger programme of which the design of this programme draws on SNV’s experience in large-scale dissemination programmes for domestic biogas in other parts of Asia. For the past two decades, SNV supported preparation and implementation of domestic biogas programmes in countries in Asia and more recently, in Africa. In particular, the programmes in Nepal and Vietnam – SNV’s longest running initiatives – have met with considerable international acclaim. Important elements of SNV’s approach are:

  • Thorough, participatory and context-specific preparation;
  • A sustainable sector as the ultimate long-term objective;
  • Interlinking impact and capacity development targets;
  • Promoting a market-oriented approach;
  • Attributing sector-functions to multiple stakeholders.

The Pakistan Domestic Biogas Programme aimed to develop the domestic biogas sector as a whole. Sector development implies the close cooperation and coordination of all relevant stakeholders (government, non-government and private sector) at all levels (micro and macro) whereby those stakeholders are equipped to fulfil the necessary functions. The function chart indicates the main functions in a large-scale domestic biogas programme and its relations.

The programme was designed to put down a robust foundation for the establishment of a market driven domestic biogas sector.

The programme had promoted an approach in which government, non-government and private sector organizations, in a complementary fashion, assumed those sector functions that intrinsically fit the character of each organisation or institution. Through the programme, the stakeholders were enmeshed in a supply and demand context in which the supply side ensured “off-the-shelf availability” of the technology while the pluralistic demand side organized the beneficiaries, provided microfinance, promoted the technology and integrated it into rural development activities.


The Pakistan Domestic Biogas Programme (PDBP) was responsible for coordination and management of the activities. PDBP reacted swiftly to the requirements of the sector and coordinated between the supply-side (construction, after sales service, quality control) and demand-side activities (awareness creation, promotion, extension).

Service quality was condition sine-qua-non for user-confidence as well as for promotion of the technology. Precise control of the quality of construction and after sales and extension services did not only safeguard the investment of the farmer and enable the farmer to maximize the benefits of the investment, but also leveled the playing field for aspiring biogas companies to operate on the emerging market. Quality control played a crucial role in the programmes quality management objective. The quality management system was compatible with quality assurance certification and carbon deal registration.

Quality control took place at the BCC and PDBP levels. Biogas Technicians employed by the PDBP visited each biogas plant to check the quality of the services as provided by the BCCs against agreed service standards in the contract and developed by the programme. Biogas Supervisors, employed by the BCCs, also visited each newly completed installation to assess the quality of construction against agreed standards (100% checks).

Private sector development

Private sector Biogas Construction Companies (BCCs) fulfilled essential processes of the programme – construction, after sales service, and primary user training. At the end of the planned programme and set targets 28 of 50 BCCs are in operation. In addition, judging from experience in other countries, and 2 biogas appliance manufacturers are producing for the programme.

The programme will encourage formal registration of BCCs in Punjab and thus build a vibrant private sector in biogas development. A BCC Association ‘Society for Biogas Promotion’ (SBP) has been formed and is in process of registration. Standards of manuals developed for construction, after sales service and related appliance have been developed.

Micro Finance

A detailed credit feasibility study was conducted at the start of the programme to establish the capability of households to pay the loans and understand the opportunities and constraints of the MFIs in financing biogas plants.

SPB has been encouraged to facilitate access to microfinance partnerships with the Punjab Rural Support Programme (PRSP), the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited ZTBL), other commercial banks and local NGOs to facilitate the household who cannot afford the cost as a lump sum payment .

Carbon fund

Domestic biogas digesters have reduced GHG emissions; the programme in principle had generated carbon revenues through the carbon market. RSPN has signed a MoU with the Ministry of Environment, which hosts the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) Cell, which is the focal point for CDM related activities in Pakistan.

The programme has successfully constructed 5,360 domestic biogas plants in central Punjab. Beneficiary households in the programme have received an upfront quality ensuring discount on their biogas investment together with free technical support and awareness raising services. In return they have authorized the programme to collect any carbon credits generated from their use of biogas plants. The revenue has been used to supplement the programme activities.

Gender mainstreaming

The programme had ensured to provide substantial benefits to women’s welfare and empowerment. A baseline study had quantified the amount of time women and children in rural areas currently spend in the collection of fuel, in other economic and social activities, and in education. The programme had a clear way forward for increasing the role of women in the programme in both supply- and demand-side activities. The strategy was based on identified opportunities to involve women in the supply side as owners or promoters, and in the demand side as trainers, community organizers, income-generation facilitators, micro-finance lenders, and as integrators of biogas into other social and economic activities. Quality Ensuring Discount

Initially 20 -30% of the cost of the plant was set aside as a quality ensuring discount for long term operation of the plant. After that it was increased and a fixed amount of PKR 40,000 was allocated for each biogas plant as a Quality Ensuring Discount. The resulting effect was a key success factor for the programme. Providing the quality ensuring discount has served a dual purpose.

The quality ensuring discount created programme leverage by means of a controlled payment mechanism coupled with a penalty system on fault detection on the quality of the services as provided by the BCCs. The discount was used to introduce the quality control system by mobilizing users and constructers and helping them in overcoming the risk of trying out the new technology.