|The Use of Organic Residues in Rural Communities (UNU, 1983, 177 pages)|
Recommendations of the working groups
The transfer of technology suitable for application at the village level is essential for the maximum use of organic residues. With special reference to ethanol production, the questions concerned the feasibility of distillation, the market potential, and the stability of microbial cultures under village conditions.
Solar heating is the system of choice for distillation; the equipment is not expensive. Ethanol has a market for mixing with motor gasoline as "gasohol" and can also be blended to give satisfactory performance in machinery on the farm.
The Unesco/lCRO Panel on Microbiology has set up centres (MlRCENs) specializing in maintaining standardized pure or mixed cultures that are of interest for fermentation processes in rural areas of developing countries. The focal point is the Microbiological Data Bank in Brisbane, and culture collections are now in Bangkok, Bogor, Cairo, Manila, Nairobi, and Porto Alegre. Dr. Da Silva of Unesco is willing to give further information about the MlRCENs to those interested.
Mushroom production was discussed, and although those described all grow in tropical conditions (38 C), some grow at 15 to 22 C and so are suitable for higher altitudes, The spent compost is a good material for biogas production and is now being evaluated as a feed for ruminant animals. In the mushroomgrowing areas in the Philippines, as much as 85 per cent of the available organic residues is used.
A question was asked about the ability of the mushrooms to degrade the polyphenolic components of straw and their capacity to resist contamination by pathogens in open air cultivation. In reply it was said that the species used in the Philippines seems to degrade lignin quite extensively. Success in cultivation depends on the quality of the spawn: it must be highly viable and resistant to attack by other organisms.
Several participants from different countries were critical of what they called bureaucratic red tape at both central and regional government levels. They considered this to be one of the main barriers to getting new systems and technology into the villages.
It was agreed, however, that if a new technology could be shown to be more profitable than existing practice it would be adopted by the farmer. The only way of convincing him is to prove it by practical demonstration. Technology cannot be transferred on the basis of a theoretical discussion.