Pioneer Biochar Project Set Up in Rushinga

The launch of the biochar project in Rushinga.
This is part of the time that graced the occasion on the first production of biochar .A pioneer project by CarbonConnect and Organic Farming Academy .

An innovative carbon credit initiative involving the production of biochar has been established in Rushinga, Zimbabwe, marking a strategic entry into the carbon trading markets.

This pioneering artisanal biochar project is a collaborative effort between CarbonConnect, a local carbon removal company, and the Organic Farming Academy (OFA), focusing on utilizing baobab shells as the primary raw material. The initiative will be using raw materials from Organic Africa, which has a number of baobab factories around the country.

According to Juan-Rodrigo Bastidas-Oyanedel and Jens Ejbye Schmidt in Waste Biorefinery (2018), biochar is a stable carbon-enriched material produced through the thermal conversion of carbon-enriched substances, presenting significant potential for agronomic and environmental applications when incorporated into soil.

Speaking to this publication, Tafadzwa Nyamandwe, a consultant of HempConnect, emphasized the substantial potential of the biochar project in addressing Zimbabwe’s and the world’s climate crisis.

“Biochar has the capacity to contribute up to 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction targets. Recognized as a negative emission technology by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it ranks highly in technology readiness among all Carbon Dioxide Removal technologies.

“In order to meet the 1,5% Paris Agreement target, reduction of CO2 emissions is not enough but should be complemented by carbon removal technologies such as biochar,” Nyamande revealed.

He further highlighted the flame curtain technology integrated into biochar production as a bridging mechanism.

Bayoba Mt. Darwin field manager, Islum Marimazhira, expressed enthusiasm for the project, stating, “The biochar initiative has simplified the disposal of baobab shells, eliminating the issues previously caused by burning them, including heavy black smoke pollutants affecting property owners in the area.”

Carbon Standards International, a carbon credit certification company, elucidated that artisanal biochar projects such as the one in Rushinga prioritize soil health improvement for smallholder farmers and climate crisis mitigation over profit-making.

The company outlined, “Artisanal biochar producers aim to enhance smallholder farmers’ yields through biochar-based fertilizers, yet the costs of production often outweigh the agronomic benefits. Therefore, the Global Artisan C-sink such as HempConnect will provide the necessary training and incentives to create climate-positive biochar and carbon sinks.”

Moreover, the firm emphasized the critical need to train farmers in biochar application techniques to ensure sustainable practices and positive environmental impact.

Zimbabwe’s recent enactment of the Carbon Credits Trading (General) Regulations, 2023 (SI 150/2023), allocates proceeds from carbon credit trades for the first decade of a project. The distribution entails 70% to the project proponent and 30% to the Zimbabwean environment fund.

This biochar project in Rushinga exemplifies a pivotal step towards sustainable carbon trading practices, aligning with Zimbabwe’s evolving regulatory framework and environmental stewardship goals.

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