Biochar has the potential to contribute to improved livelihoods for smallholder farmers, especially women, through increased soil fertility, farm productivity, energy efficiency, improved health and reduced drudgery, but it is a relative young field of research. Based on, and linking to, Swedish experiences, this project aims at developing an expert network for biochar in Africa, which will identify, compile and disseminate science-based knowledge on biochar of relevance for development in Africa.
Energy access is a tricky puzzle for the African continent. 70% of the population in sub Saharan Africa relies on biomass for energy. It means that most of the population burns firewood, charcoal, agricultural residues and animal dung for cooking food and for getting done with other day-to-day routines.
The SIANI African Biochar Expert group is in the process of starting a network of researchers and development professionals with experience and interest in biochar. We are interested in getting in touch with ongoing biochar activities in Africa, as well as with people who are interested in information about biochar development in Africa.
Biochar has recently gained attention in scientific and popular media for its potential to sequester carbon and enhance soil fertility (World Bank 2014). There are also opportunities to improve energy efficiency through pyrolytic cookstoves, improve health through reduced indoor air pollution, and reduce drudgery through reduced need for firewood etc.