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Ghana to promote bamboo biofuels

The Ghanaian government has said that it will offer support to bamboo growers as it aims to decrease the country’s carbon footprint

Deputy minister for energy, Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah, said the government would promote the production of more efficient biomass technologies, including biomass fuels derived from bamboo, in line with its National Renewal Energy Policy.

Buah told delegates at an EU-supported conference in Takoradi that establishing bamboo plantations would lead to an increase in the resource stock to meet future economic uses.

Ghana already has vast bamboo resources estimated to amount to between 400,000 and 450,000 hectares.

“In spite of its wide coverage, the utility level of bamboo remains at the rudimentary level, attracting uses in traditional housing, low-quality furniture, farm implements and fencing,” said Buah.

Speaking at the conference, INBAR director general Dr J Coosje Hoogendoorn remarked, “Bamboo, the perfect biomass grass, grows naturally across Africa and presents a viable, cleaner and sustainable alternative to wood fuel.

“It also holds the key to combating soil degradation and massive deforestation on the continent. Without such an alternative, wood charcoal would remain the primary household energy source for decades to come with disastrous consequences.”

Hoogendoorn said scientists had predicted that the burning of wood fuel by African households would release the equivalent of 6.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by 2050, advancing the effect on climate change caused by the clearing of tropical forests, therefore making bamboo a perfect alternative.