Nyamira residents have been urged to embrace planting bamboo trees to save drying-up water catchment areas, causing a Climate Change crisis due to prolonged drought
Mr. Benjamin Mutinda, an officer at Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), while training farmers at Ekerenyo, said that that the Bamboo trees need to be grown by all farmers and serious timber entrepreneurs, because they conserve the environment, since these trees need very little water to grow to maturity because they are hollow inside.
“Bamboo trees need very little manure and time to mature, they do not have any waste right from harvest time to processing into various products. Its by-products can equally be fabricated to make very unique, classy and beautiful furniture and other items of various uses worth lots of money and be a source of income to the creative carpenters.” said Benjamin.
KEFRI Technologist, Gilbert Mauta, said they use factory waste from bamboo trees, to convert it to make fuel briquettes, which are a source of clean energy to be used in cooking.
“Timber Wastes and bamboo dust from factories can be readily converted to clean energy through a simple process, to make charcoal briquettes, which are used at home, in institutions and factories instead of polluting the environment with carbon emitted from wood when used as source of firewood.” Mr. Mauta stated.
Mauta further explained that the raw materials for making briquettes that are a source of clean energy can be sourced from wood dust, bamboo dust, or sugar bagasse, then mix either of them with 10 percent of red soil depending on the quantity and mix the contents with little water to form a dough like mixture, shape them into small, medium or large briquettes and dry them, then use them as clean fuel for cooking.
Nyamira North Sub-County Forestry Officer, Rael Nyatuge, said that a group by the name ecostream bamboo, has been formed in Nyamira County that trains and encourages community members in the county, to plant bamboo trees because their economic returns are equally more than those of the eucalyptus trees, which have totally destroyed water catchment areas.
“The training is very important in enlightening our community on the importance of conserving our endangered environment, by plating the right species of trees, because the erratic weather changes have largely been caused by human actions, a situation which needs to be changed or we face a serious climate change crisis.
The Forest Officer appealed to the County Government, to help the group procure a briquette making machine, so that numerous jobless members of Eco-stream bamboo group, can be able to make the briquettes, which are a source of clean energy and install a bamboo processing plant, which will enable farmers who have planted the bamboo process the timber and make various kinds of furniture to sell and sustain their livelihoods.
She confirmed that farmers can access bamboo tree seedlings at the Forestry Offices, because they have more than enough, in a bid to reclaim and conserve riparian areas and water catchment sources to contain detrimental effects of climate change.
By Deborah Bochere