Zimbabwe Placeholder

Diversifying alternative energy sources for household use and tobacco curing through promotion of giant timber bamboo and sound forest management through Assisted Natural Regeneration Sites.

About the Implementing organization

Name: BIO-HUB Trust

Country: Zimbabwe

Year of establishment: 2013

Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status


The ‘business as usual practice” is that rural communities heavily rely of fuel wood for cooking and for curing their tobacco. Promotion Giant Timber Bamboo as an alternative to fuel wood is a new innovation and has multiple benefits, that include charcoal production, making furniture, and fodder/stock feed which have potential to increase households’ income. The innovation seeks to provide an alternative fuel for local communities to use and Giant timber bamboo grows fast as it takes 2 to 3 years to mature after planting with minimum harvest height is 15 – 20 meters. It grows faster than indigenous trees and helps to curb the challenge of deforestation. It is a non-invasive bamboo species as it was lab developed. The duration of a single clump once established is 100 – 200 years with no other costs other than harvesting. 250 farmers were selected and given 15 bamboo plants each to plant as part of a pilot project. This project was also used as an entry point to see if tobacco farmers could be engaged in improving the efficiency of their tobacco processes. The project has managed to establish bamboo plants that will be used for; tobacco curing, charcoal briquettes production using the retort kiln, pole making for use at the homestead, and other income generating artefacts such as toothpicks, stool making and match stick. The innovation is new in Zimbabwe. Thus, in many countries bamboo has never been used as an alternative for tobacco curing. The project also presents

Nature Element

Forests / Drylands

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Food security / Renewable energy / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)


Environmental Impacts

This project had some positive environmental impacts which included reviving forests identified by the community members covering 1,907 hectares. Through assisted natural regeneration, plant diversity increased. The growing of 3,750 bamboo plants in wards 10, 12 and 17 covering 12,3 hectares had a positive impact of stopping erosion, increasing aesthetic value and increasing carbon sequestration. This will contribute positively to ameliorating the current trends of ecosystems change and biodiversity loss. The project has positively impacted on reducing the multiple pressures such as increased land use intensity and land use change and the associated destruction of natural or semi-natural habitats. This was through capacitating the local communities to efficient firewood practices and the need for tree conservation. The potential to develop a REDD+ project has also created opportunities for monetary compensation for activities that enhance reductions of emissions from land-based sector.

Sustainable Development Impacts

The project impacted on SGD13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts through improved forest management at local level to enhance carbon sequestration of which 1,907 hectares were protected. Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss ~ communities participated in assisted natural regeneration of forests to combat degradation. Goal 7: To ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all through the distribution of 100 pilot solar lanterns and 63 energy saving stoves. Other SGDs impacted include Goal 2 ~ Zero hunger though setting up of fruit orchards contributing to household nutritional and income security.


The project was a pilot project and has the potential for up-scaling if funds are made available. The second phase of the project will seek to: 1) influence policy for the adoption of bamboo by all the tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe. 2) Promote further planting of bamboo, develop charcoal from bamboo, promotion of fuelwood saving stoves and solar lanterns. 3) Create market linkages for bamboo products 4) Increase the communities’ livelihoods to reduce pressure on agriculture and natural resources for increased income. 5) Research and development on the introduction of energy efficient tobacco curing barns and renewable energy barns 6) Scaling-up of assisted natural regeneration (ANR) plots to engage in carbon trades markets.


Zimbabwe is classified as a country with low forest cover and very high deforestation rate . At present the Forestry Commission (FC) estimates an annual deforestation rate of 313,000 ha per year , which is the highest in the Southern Africa region . This equates to a deforestation rate of 1.7% per annum and a 1.1% loss in forest carbon stock per annum. Despite these challenges bamboo is widely overlooked as an alternative to fuel wood. Bamboo is an underutilised grass species, which is given low priority across many countries. This project can be replicated in other parts of Zimbabwe as it offers solutions to the high levels of deforestation.

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