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Bidco To Contract Farmers To Supply Bamboo For Powering Their Ruiru, Thika Factories.

Bidco CEO Vimal Shah in an earlier photo at the Thika plant. Inset: A file photo of bamboo plants.
Bidco Africa has partnered with Kitil Farm which is a leading bamboo propagation center, to contract farmers to grow and supply mature bamboo in order to meet its demand for biomass.

The Thika-based consumer goods manufacturer presently uses over 200 tonnes of macadamia and coffee husks to generate power at its Thika and Ruiru factories.  However, the supply of both is erratic and unsustainable.

In the deal, Kitil Farm will provide contracted farmers with quality bamboo seedlings, training and technical support.

Speaking after signing of the MOU, Jovenales M. Njuguna, CEO Kitil Farm, acknowledged that Bamboo was a wonder plant that had over 1500 recorded uses.

“About 2.5 billion of the world’s population depend on bamboo economically with its turnover being estimated to about US$ 2.5 million at the international market. The demand for industrial biomass in Kenya is high,” explained Njuguna.

Njuguna added that companies like Bidco who are looking for sustainable solutions to meet their energy needs, were now creating a market for bamboo and this was an opportunity for anyone who intended to take up bamboo as a type of investment to consider seriously.

Bidco estimates that it will require 6,000 tonnes monthly to meet its energy needs. It is for this reason that BIDCO plans to contract farmers, investment groups, individuals, Chamas, Saccos and Companies within Kenya and the East African Region who are willing to take up bamboo growing.

“Bamboo is an elegant solution for our needs. It is good for the environment because it rehabilitates the soil and is a clean energy source that reduces our carbon footprint. Bamboo is also a renewable resource. From a sustainability perspective it’s a win-win,” said Vimal Shah, CEO Bidco.

Head of Bidco’s Agribusiness department Mr. John Kariuki noted that bamboo can grow everywhere in Kenya and even though it took 3-4 years to mature, it regenerated every year for about 50 years.

“After it’s fully grown, bamboo regenerates making deforestation a non-issue and assuring the farmer of income,” he explained.

“If you have idle land or wish to take up a new type of investment, bamboo is a good option,” added Kariuki. 

Bamboo holds the Guinness World Records as the fastest-growing plant globally. Some of the estimated 1,000 species of bamboo are said to be growing by up to 91 centimetres a day. It is estimated that one hectare of bamboo plantation can yield 10-33 tons of dry stems per year depending on species, region and growing practices.

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