The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials has announced certification of the first Smallholder Project in Southeast Asia. Biomass Supplies Ltd, a subsidiary of the Biomass Group, coordinates collection of biomass residuals in Sri Lanka. The company works with 30,000 small farmers who have planted 60 million Gliricidia trees on their fences.
Gliricidia is a fast-growing, short-rotation tree found naturally in Sri Lanka. Principally grown for its leaves, which provide base materials for fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides, the species also finds use in plantations as a shade tree and soil improver by functioning as a “live fencing”, and for animal fodder. The now-certified practice of coppicing Gliricidia branches twice a year also provides smallholders additional income. The main root and trunk of the tree remains sequestering carbon. Biomass Supplies is the first operation in Southeast Asia to earn RSB certification and the first smallholder project to become RSB certified in Asia. Sustainability, traceability, and accreditation will enable Biomass Supplies to command fair prices which in turn will provide local farmers with a better income. The company’s supply chain will deliver Gliricidia fuel-wood from plantations and smallholders to industrial customers and power stations to replace furnace oil or coal. Biomass Group plans to develop a series of 10MW biomass-fuelled power plants that will deliver renewable energy to the national grid on long-term contracts.