Bidco Africa is looking for contract farmers to grow over 1 million bamboo culms in a year as fuel wood for the boilers in its factories in the central Kenya towns of Thika and Ruiru.
The contracts will run for five years.
Bidco says it requires about 6,000 tonnes of bamboo a month to meet its energy needs and is now scouting for farmers who want to be contracted.
“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 now wants small scale farmers across the country who are interested in bamboo farming to partner with it.
At the moment, the company uses over 200 tons of macadamia and coffee husks to generate power however the supply of both is erratic and unsustainable.
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.
Kitil Farm which has its headquarters in Isinya, Kajiado District is a licensed open quarantine operatng in Kenya. The farm grows and sell bamboo seedlings to individuals, investment groups, NGOs, CBOs, Government ministries and departments, and County governments.
Last year BIDCO planted plants bamboo at Ndakaini dam being 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 Shah.
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.