Bamboo

Fascinating talk about bamboo usage in building construction.

As in many tropical regions, bamboo forest is very common in the south of Nigeria, they grow effortlessly usually near swampy areas or streams.

I remember my father made our outside kitchen from bamboo with palm tree leaves as the roof. It was a practical kitchen with space to keep few firewood away from rain and a bamboo swinging half-door (aganrandi) and a latch to keep domestic goats off.  The kitchen served the family well for about three years before he had to take it down as termites had eaten into the bamboo pillars.

Around the same time, we had a farm barn made of bamboo to store maize and house the chickens, called it Abe ile (under the roof) so-called as it was the place to take shelter when it’s raining or if we all need to meet up for lunch. Abe ile was a lot bigger than the village kitchen.

As abundant as bamboo is, they are susceptible to termites. Using regular insecticides like Raid is not cost-effective so people tend to use bamboo in construction knowing they will have to re-build in two or three years down the line.

Listening to Elora Hardy Tedtalk was enlightening  as it shows that with proper treatment, the possibilities are limitless.

Beautiful home she has there …

34 thoughts on “Bamboo

    1. Thank you for sharing the link.

      That’s interesting re bamboo charcoal.

      When cooking with firewood, you don’t taste the firewood smoke from the food except for barbecue (suya) but in the case of bamboo no matter how tightly the food is covered, the smoke still escape into the food and thus ruin the taste. I suppose if there is a way of eliminating the unappealing smoke/odour from bamboo coal, then it will be well received by many people, I think.

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      1. Hello again! I’m very curious as to why you would be getting a bad taste from cooking with bamboo charcoal. I contacted a scientist in Ghana who is an expert on bamboo to investigate this issue further. Would you kindly send him an email so we can help to try and find out more about the cause of the bad taste of food when cooking with bamboo charcoal. The email address is mkwaku@inbar.int. He Michael Kwaku – Director of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan in Ghana.

        I’m also very interested in the topic of deforestation and associated threats to wildlife habitat – and I feel that if a lot of people were able to make a switch to using bamboo charcoal it could help to make a difference for the well-being of both people and wildlife. In addition, I noticed a difference regards smoke produced from making charcoal including bamboo charcoal from the technique used. In this video there is little smoke produced when making bamboo charcoal compared to other techniques, for example. Refer to link: http://bamb88.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/small-bamboo-charcoal-kiln-production.html

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        1. The unappealing taste from bamboo smoke is simple to test out. A simple experiment can be conducted, cooking say, yam using bamboo sticks and the other pot, real wood, the food will taste differently. This should not be a deterrent in any way, it just means over time our tastebud will get used to bamboo taste in food.

          The video clip you sent is of charcoal being made from real wood and not bamboo. This reminds me of another reason why bamboo is not very common for cooking. Bamboo sticks burn faster than real wood, this means that one needs more quantity of bamboo to complete a task real wood would do with fewer sticks.

          Having said that with competitive price, there is a huge market for bamboo coal in Nigeria.

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          1. I’ve also had correspondence with a scientist in Ethiopia regarding the taste of food cooked with bamboo charcoal. So far, I have found that there are people in Ghana and Ethiopia who do not have this issue regarding an unpleasant taste. In fact, in Ghana and Ethiopia there were people who even preferred the food cooked with bamboo charcoal and would pay more for it. Perhaps there is a range of possibilities as to why there is a difference in Nigeria?

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              1. Hello! I’m just wondering if you know someone who can do that little experiment in Nigeria to compare the taste of yam/food cooked with bamboo charcoal with that of cooking with wood timber charcoal?! Can you post a photo of the cooking process and if possible tell us what type of bamboo it is? There are many different species of bamboo. Would really like to have your feedback on that.

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      2. Hello again! I am very curious as to what could be causing the bad taste when cooking with bamboo charcoal. I contacted a scientist in Ghana who is an expert on bamboo. Would you kindly contact him by email so we can investigate this further. He is Michael Kwaku who is the Director of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan in Ghana. His email address is mkwaku@inbar.int

        Also I noticed there is a difference regards smoke production depending on how charcoal is made. In this example – there is little smoke produced when making bamboo charcoal as compared to other methods I’ve seen online: http://bamb88.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/small-bamboo-charcoal-kiln-production.html.

        I’m interested in the topic of deforestation and protection of wildlife habitat. I feel that it would make a difference to the well-being of both people and also wildlife if people used bamboo charcoal rather than wood timber charcoal.

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        1. Deforestation is real in Nigeria and area that should bother everyone. I agree that it will help us a long way to try something new so as to protect wildlife.

          The challenge here is that most people likely to be using bamboo coal for cooking are the same people at the bottom of social and economic ladder – this group is harder to convince especially if they have to pay more for products.
          I think bamboo coal has lots of potential, the target in the first instance are the hospitality industries in our cities, then households.

          Folks in the rural areas likely be pleased to learn new ways to utilise bamboo.

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          1. Points for consideration
            1. In the case of Nigeria, there is reported to be a 17 million units housing shortage. Today, it is ironic that Nigeria with a population of about 170 million people is currently facing a national housing deficit of about 17 million units, and requires a minimum of additional one million housing units per annum to reduce the national deficit in order to avert a housing crisis in the country. Refer to Link: http://dailyindependentnig.com/2015/04/nigerias-17m-housing-deficit-challenges-buhari/ 2. Deforestation in Nigeria is critical. About half the land in Nigeria used to be covered in trees. Today all but about 10% of those have been chopped down, and less than one percent exist as frontier forest. Nigeria has removed 36% of its trees in the past two decades. Refer to Link: http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/10-countries-with-the-highest-deforestation-rates-in-the-world.html. Alternatively, houses could be made from bamboo.
            3. West African countries who once where exporters of timber are now faced with the possibility of importing timber. In the case of Ghana, falling volumes of timber in Ghana, coupled with rise in illegal lumbering, has compelled the former net timber exporter to now import to augment demands of the industry. Refer to Link: http://www.theafricareport.com/West-Africa/ghana-considers-timber-imports-as-industry-declines.html 4. The use of timber for charcoal cooking usage impacts upon the rate of deforestation. Wood, a form of biomass, remains the sole source of energy for hundreds of millions of Africans, who lack access to modern sources of power. By substituting the use of bamboo charcoal instead of timber charcoal, it is possible to help reduce deforestation and associated threats to wildlife and their habitat. Refer to Link: http://bamb88.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/bamboo-charcoal.html 5. Proposition: The use of bamboo resource is a legitimate alternative to the use of timber.
            6. One widely available plant resource in Nigeria is bamboo. Refer to link: http://www.transcampus.org/JORINDV9Dec2011/Jorind%20Vol9%20No2%20Dec%20Chapter1.pdf7. Bamboo is known to grow quickly. Bamboo can be harvested over a shorter period of time than timber. In some cases, depending on the bamboo species, it may take only a few years to harvest the bamboo whereas it can take many years for trees to grow. Refer to link: http://www.kitilfarm.com/
            8. Deforestation can be combated by effective agroforestry management and forest regeneration. Refer to link: http://bamb88.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/how-to-restore-rainforest.html
            9. Bamboo cultivation can help prevent soil erosion. 10. Bamboo housing construction has been found to be robust in areas that encountered natural disasters, for example hurricanes/earthquakes.
            http://bamb88.blogspot.com.au/

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            1. I completely agree with you on all of these. The sad part is that deforestation is very common in villages where loggers did their job with next to no difficulty.

              I’m sure attitude can change if folks were educated on the need to stop deforestation and provided with alternatives.

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        1. I am from SW.

          Outside kitchen – usually in the village but practice is dying as people put for durable mud house/bricks for lack proper treatment of.

          Farm huts – Still common but had to be dismantled after a few years as termites eats to pillars.
          As scaffolding – this is probably the most Nigeria is getting from bamboo today.
          Fruits basket: usually high end priced hence it is not that popular.

          I don’t seem to find any picture online that looks familiar to what I have in mind, if I find any, I’ll forward to you and sorry I am not in Nigeria at the moment.

          Going from what I have seen online Ghana seem to be doing much better with bamboo – they are riding bamboo framed bicycle and
          http://www.voanews.com/content/ghana-bamboo-bikes-gain-worldwide-attention/2491989.html

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  1. It would make sense to have an outside kitchen in your hot climate. We like to cook out side in the summer too on a barbecue. If only our weather were moderate enough to do that all year round.
    Leslie

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    1. I think it’s cool to have fire/insect resistant bamboo, beautifies the community and does the job especially with materials that grow back quickly unlike other hard woods that take longer to replace.

      Well, it’s barbecue season now 🙂

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