Community Eco – Charcoal Project
Turning a ‘weed’ into a wonder plant
Innovation – Social Enterprise – Resourcefulness – Regeneration
It is imperative for the community to derive direct tangible benefit from the protection of the indigenous biodiversity. The Laikipia Nature Conservancy (Ol Ari Nyiro) encompasses vast swathes of a shrub called Leleshwa (Tarconanthus camphoratus). This indigenous plant grows in impenetrable densities in some areas, almost to the exclusion of other species, it also poses a serious fire threat due to its fluffy flowers which carry a flame in the wind for great distances.
Once coppiced, Leleshwa grows back to its original size within 7 years, one can harvest it again within 4 years. Thus, it makes a perfect renewable source of wood-fuel or biomass for charcoal.
With generous seed funding from the Leopardess Foundation, the Gallmann Memorial Foundation has embarked on an innovative landmark project in collaboration with the local community to create fully sustainable eco-charcoal business.
Leleshwa is harvested along fire-management blocks to create firebreaks. The wood is turned into eco-charcoal using highly efficient Adam Retort Kilns which combust bi-products and cause minimal pollution resulting in very high grade charcoal. The result is a high quality, renewable charcoal which we are branding so that the end consumer is aware that their charcoal is not coming from illegal felling of indigenous forests.
The project currently employs over 50 youths. 20% of the revenue from the eco-charcoal project goes into a community trust fund. The community decide which projects they want to initiate with the money raised from the project.
Have a look at our new mobile adam-retort to produce charcoal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckKNnOckdzk
- In 1963 forest covered 10% of land in Kenya by 2006 this had declined to 1.7%. This unsustainable level of deforestation in Kenya is primarily driven by the harvesting of forest products for charcoal
- 85% of all charcoal available for sale in Kenya is harvested illegally
- 93% of rural and 80% of urban Kenyans use charcoal and wood as their primary cooking fuel
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