Divine Bamboo is the name of the Ugandan company that produces bamboo briquettes. “I wanted to do something that encompassed both my passion for nature and also helped in the fight against climate change and deforestation,” says the company’s founder and director, Divine Nabaweesi.
With 90 % of the population in this African country needing firewood for cooking, bamboo briquettes are replacing charcoal.
“It is not enough to tell people not to cut down trees. People still need a livelihood, they still need to eat, they still need to earn an income, so if we can give them an alternative in the form of fast-growing bamboo, in three years they would be harvesting,” she tells Africa News.
Carbonising the dried bamboo is the process the company undertakes, which aims to exponentially increase bamboo plantations in the country. The market price is half a dollar for two kilos of charcoal, which has a heavier consistency than charcoal.
Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant and a scientific study shows that a bamboo forest absorbs 30 % more carbon dioxide than an equivalent forest of hardwood trees.
Documents show that bamboo charcoal has been used in China since the 15th century and has the advantage of being less polluting than wood from other trees.
In China and Japan, bamboo vinegar is also used for hundreds of field treatments, as it contains around 400 chemical compounds that allow it to be used in cosmetics, insecticides, deodorants, food processing and agriculture.