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Bidco Africa targets to plant a million bamboo plants annually at Ndakaini to conserve the water catchment tower.

Bidco Group Chairman Vimal Shah planting a bamboo tree in Ndakaini dam in the company's quest towards achieving the annual 1 million target. 
Thika-Based food and manufacturing company Bidco Africa will plant 1,000,000 Bamboo plants at Ndakaini dam catchment area to help conserve the water tower and promote the use of Bamboo as a source of renewable energy.

This was revealed by company chairman Vimal Shah during the first planting event at the dam. He emphasised his company’s commitment to environmental conservation and entrenching sustainability into its daily business operations.

“Ndakaini is easily the most important location in Kenya. If water is life then this place is literally our life which is why this project makes so much sense. We have come here to mark our commitment to plant 1,000,000 bamboo annually to conserve this water tower,” he said.

“Bamboo is an excellent product of nature. It is good for the soil, good for the economy and good for energy production.  I am pleased that it is steadily gaining acceptance and acquiring adoption across various sectors of our society; we are slowly waking up to the possibilities that Bamboo presents and this is a good thing,” explained Vimal.

The Bidco Chairman revealed that the company offers a ready market for the plant.

“We have been searching for a sustainable energy solution for a while and we finally got one in bamboo. We need 6,000 tonnes a month so if you are willing to plant we are willing to buy.”
The exercise was presided over by Environment and Natural resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu who was stressed relationship between the environment and the impact of climate change in Kenya.

“The low levels of water in this dam, the prices of food, the drought -everything is connected. The truth is there are no fancy solutions for climate change. We have to increase our forest cover and take from nature in a responsible and mindful way particularly in terms of energy. What we have done here today advances both of these goals,” she said.

Both Wakhungu and Shah also extolled the economic dexterity of Bamboo.

The CS urged more Kenyans to engage in conservation and tree planting.

“The environment belongs to all of us; it is a shared responsibility; let us remember that we have not inherited this earth from our ancestors we have borrowed it from our children. Let us take good care of it and one another,” she said

Bamboo is a good source of clean energy and a good crop for conservation. It has been identified as Africa’s untapped potential and a new economic force that is generating income, creating jobs and protecting the environment.

Agronomists in Africa believe it can restore degraded landscapes while economists think it is a potential “green gold,” and a silver bullet for design and architecture that is already attracting a global market. 

Bamboo can grow in almost any kind of climate and thrive in the poorest of soils. To tap into this lucrative green economy, African governments and the private sector have begun positioning themselves to commercialize bamboo. The profit potential has become even greater as environmentalists link bamboo with climate change mitigation, and the possibility of increased income through carbon credits.

So far 18 African countries with natural bamboo—Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda—have joined INBAR, which is assisting them with bamboo information, technology transfer, capacity building and policy formulation. Other countries, like Angola, Gabon and Zambia, are expected to join the network.

Bidco Africa recently partnered with Kitil Farm, a leading bamboo propagation center, to contract farmers to grow and supply mature bamboo in order to meet its demand for biomass. In the deal, Kitil Farm will provide contracted farmers with quality bamboo seedlings, training and technical support.

Bidco 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.

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