OKARA -  Pakistan’s first commercial-size biogas plant was inaugurated as an efficient and effective way for meeting local energy needs by utilising renewable resources. United State Consul General Yuriy Fedkiw and Punjab Minister for Livestock and Dairy Development Punjab Asif Saeed Manias attended the ceremony held at Govt Bahadar Nagar Livestock Farm on Okara-Faisalabad Road.

In order to promote energy efficiency, an effective and supportive environment and promotion of alternative energy resources are required not only in Pakistan but also in the world, experts said.

It was completed with the support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Nestle Pakistan, working to gather through the Dairy and Rural Development Foundation (DRDF). It was collaborated with the Punjab livestock and dairy development in the construction of the biogas unit.

“The vast potential of biogas should be explored further to provide an alternative to 122 million people in Punjab as it had no reliable source of energy. With the help of USAID and DRDF, this biogas unit will serve as a model for investors and rural communities to replicate and reduce reliance on firewood or dung cakes for cooking in heating,” DRDF CEO Ahmad Sajjad said.

DRDF through the dairy product has been transforming the dairy sector by promoting breed improvement and dairy farming skill development. Beside, DRDF was addressing the energy needs of rural communities through biogas plant initiative as the plant was the continuation of the dairy projects pilot intervention of 50 cubic metre biogas unit constricted for a dairy cooperative at district Vehari, he said.

The USAID project has improved the lives of more than 50,000 dairy farmers in Punjab through livestock productivity and increasing dairy farmers’ income by at least 10 percent, he said.