Bidco to produce energy using bamboo
Bidco Africa plans to contract farmers to grow and supply mature bamboo trees to the company to meet the power needs of its factories in Thika and Ruiru.
Currently, Bidco uses over 200 tons of macadamia and coffee husks to generate power but the supply is erratic and unsustainable.
The Chief Executive Officer of Bidco, Vimal Shah said apart from power needs, Bamboo is good for the environment as it rehabilitates the soil and reduces carbon footprint.
“Bamboo is also a renewable resource. From sustainability, perspective it’s a win-win,” said Shah in a statement to the media on Monday.
The manufacturer will partner with Kitil Farm, a leading bamboo propagation center to provide contracted farmers with quality bamboo seedlings, training and technical support.
Jovenales Njuguna, the Chief Executive Officer of Kitil Farm says Bamboo is a wonder plant with over 1500 recorded uses.
“About 2.5 billion people in the world depend economically on bamboo and international trade in bamboo amounts to about US$2.5 million,” said Njuguna.
Bidco says it will require about 6,000 tons a month to meet its energy needs. It plans to contract farmers, investment groups, individuals, Chamas, Saccos and, Companies in Kenya and the East African Region who are willing to cultivate bamboo.
“The demand for industrial biomass in Kenya is high. Companies like Bidco who are looking for sustainable solutions to meet their energy needs are creating a market for bamboo and this is an opportunity for anyone who intends to take up bamboo as a type of investment to consider seriously,” adds Njuguna.
John Kariuki who leads Agribusiness in Bidco says bamboo can grow anywhere in Kenya and takes three to four years to mature and regenerates every year for about 50 years.
“After its fully grown, bamboo regenerates making deforestation a non-issue and assuring the farmer of income,” he said.
It is estimated that one hectare of bamboo plantation can yield 10-33 tons of dry stems per year depending on species, region and growing practices.
“If you have idle land or wish to take up a new type of investment, bamboo is a good option,” adds Kariuki.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a