Four and a half years ago, the villagers of Kinchlingi, population 75, decided to take a leaf out of Gandhi's teachings: "self-help is the best help." Why wait any longer for water when all they had to do was pedal the CTx GREEN biodiesel reactor a meagre three hours every month? 100% biodiesel from local oil seeds fuelled a 3.5HP pump-set, which they ran an hour daily, to get running water for drinking and sanitation. When gravity flow water finally arrived last year, they decided to continue cultivating niger, and bartering salt for karanja, so that they could fuel a gen-set that would bring them lighting, another dream come true. By the time grid electricity arrives, in the coming months, the villagers may be ready to make yet another switch: increase biodiesel production to fuel multi-purpose power-tillers and mobile irrigation pump-sets. A local rice mill owner is ready to buy their biodiesel to fuel his diesel engine-powered rice huller. A brand-new biodiesel-fuelled oil expeller, or two, in the nearby hills could process all the karanja seeds from the entire cluster into value-added oil cake and oil! Having seen the oil cake as fertilizer demonstrations in 2008, farmers are eager to reap the benefits of oil cake as fertilizer. Food and fuel security can thus be mentioned in the same breath!
Barefoot technicians, a barefoot technician-tured-entrepreneur and farmers narrate experiences with the easy-to-learn, small-scale biodiesel production technology: 5-litre and 20-litre batches of biodiesel produced by pedaling one hour at time, and the benefits of oil cake as fertilizer. They voice their expectations for the future with benefits shared across the community of farmers, self-help groups and youth: local value addition, improved productivity of the land, more local jobs and income generation that could wipe out the need to migrate in search of work, and perhaps even reduce slash-and-bum agriculture. And this with their own efforts, for their own benefit, with a little help from friends.
(c) CTx GREEN February 2009