Bamboo may be the key to combating soil degradation and massive deforestation on the continent as an alternative source of energy.
The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and China are working to substitute bamboo charcoal and firewood for forest wood on which 80 percent of the rural population in sub-Saharan Africa depends for its fuel needs.
“Bamboo, the perfect biomass grass, grows naturally across Africa and presents a viable, cleaner and sustainable alternative to wood fuel,” said Dr. J. Coosje Hoogendoorn, Director General of INBAR. “Without such an alternative, wood charcoal will remain the primary household energy source for decades to come–with disastrous consequences.”
In addition to charcoal, bamboo offers many new opportunities for income generation. It can be processed into a vast range of wood products, from floorboards to furniture and of course, affordable bamboo bikes.