The Biochar for Sustainable Soils (B4SS) and the Biochar Plus projects joined forces to organise the Biochar Systems for Africa workshop in Nairobi, Kenya (March 1-2, 2016). The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), as the main partner leading the B4SS project activitites in Kenya, hosted the workshop at its headquarters. The B4SS project in Kenya extends from a long-term cooperation in Western Kenya with Cornell University and University of Nairobi.
The workshop started with a brief presentation of the Biochar Plus and B4SS projects by Prof Alessandro Peressotti and Dr Ruy Anaya de la Rosa, respectively. Prof Johannes Lehmann, member of the B4SS scientific panel, talked about the current situation of the International Biochar Initiative (IBI). Lessons learned in the IBI may be useful for the establishment and development of the Africa Biochar Partnership (ABP). The workshop then included presentations from different organisations that are conducting biochar research and development activities in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana and Zimbabwe. Various researchers from other African countries and some representatives of the African Union Commission contributed to the discussion as well.
The workshop also provided the opportunity to launch the Africa Biochar Partnership (ABP), which is an open platform that will encourage and facilitate the development of biochar systems in Africa. The ABP will focus on research, promotion, technology transfer, advocacy, incentives and policy tools, training, market uptake, end-users’ adoption, and networking. Since the production and use of biochar can be a multifaceted technology that can offer a wide range of benefits in different sectors, biochar is typically studied from a systems perspective. Therefore, the work of the ABP will include activities across the agricultural, energy, biomass management, health, and sanitation sectors. The introduction and dissemination of biochar-making stoves to rural areas in Africa is on top of the agenda. In addition, the potential of biochar systems to mitigate climate change will be evaluated. Initially, the ABP will be based in the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), Cape Verde, until the partners agree where to establish its hadquarters. For more information, please visit ECREEE’s website.