Bidco Africa plans to contract farmers to grow 1,000,000 bamboo trees over the next five years, and supply it, in order to meet its need for biomass to power its operations at its factories in Thika and Ruiru.
Bidco estimates that it will require 6,000 tons of bamboo, a month to meet its energy needs. It is for this reason that it is inviting small scale farmers across the country who are interested in bamboo farming to partner with it.
“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, ” said Vimal Shah, Bidco Chairman.
Bidco, presently uses over 200 tons of macadamia and coffee husks to generate power however the supply of both is erratic and unsustainable.
Speaking during the launch of a bamboo tree planting initiative at Ndakaini Dam on Saturday, which was graced by the Environment and Natural resources Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judy Wakhungu, the Bidco Chairman said that Bamboo is an elegant solution for their energy needs because it is a clean energy source that reduces carbon footprint.
The manufacturer has already partnered with Kitil farm, a leading bamboo propagation centre to provide contracted farmers with quality bamboo seedlings, training and technical support.
Professor Judy Wakhungu, praised Bidco’s initiative, and urged other manufacturing entities to consider using clean sources of energy so as to reduce carbon emissions.
She said, the planting of bamboo at Ndakaini dam, is an important step towards conserving a very critical Kenyan water tower.
“Bamboo can play a very important role in Kenya’s afforestation and conservation efforts, therefore this initiative should be adopted across the country in all the water towers, so that we can impact not only this generation but future generations,” said Prof.Wakhungu.
Bamboo roots form a network of roots in the soil, therefore binding it and preventing soil erosion especially in steep slopes and riverbanks where soil erosion is greatest. The abundant foliage that dry and fall off create a thick humus layer that enriches the soil.
Studies done in Kenya and Southeast Asia have shown that natural bamboo forests have excellent water purification qualities, which also help improve soils. The roots help prevent the soil from being washed away by runoff water during heavy rains.