To produce coal from agricultural waste materials to save trees
Oil palm giant Sime Darby Plantation and several others have assured the newly-established partnership between Green Gold Liberia and the Bomi County Community College (BCCC) of its support to build a viable industry to produce charcoal from organic waste materials throughout the country.
A representative of Sime Darby Plantation at the partnership ceremony on Tuesday at the college’s Fortoma Compound in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, said it is important for Liberians, who are committing themselves to the project, not to undermine it with activities that could reverse the gains of the partnership.
Green Gold Liberia’s general manager Morris Dougba told the gathering of students and other representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Mary Meals Liberia and the Ministry of Education (MoE) that two years ago, he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BCCC to develop a curriculum that could lead to teaching how to use organic waste materials to produce charcoal.
Morris said the launching of the partnership Tuesday demonstrates BCCC authorities’ determination to save Liberia’s forest that is being depleted throughout the country.
He admitted that the charcoal industry is worth more than US$200 million, and therefore, unless a new alternative technology is developed as a consequence, there will be a time when no trees will be available and its negative effect will be felt throughout the country.
“Therefore to save Liberia’s forest, something to which I have dedicated my life, I am grateful to Dr. Zobong Norman, president of the BCCC for accepting to introduce the technology in this college,” Mr. Dougba said.
He announced that his company is determined to introduce the technology at BCCC so that the college would be a referral teaching center in the country as the center for the production, use, and benefit of sustainable Bio-briquettes from agricultural residue.
Morris told the gathering, made of students, elders and government officials at the program, that saving Liberia’s forest from wood charcoal mining is his company’s goal.
In a demonstration, Gerrard Singh, a lead technical consultant at Green Gold Liberia, explained that the company’s technology to produce coal from agricultural residue, otherwise know as Bio-briquettes, or fayacoal, a new name developed by the company, burns longer; it is cheaper, smoke-free and Eco-friendly.
Mr. Singh, who comes from Trinidad & Tobago where the technology is popular, said the sustainable model will improve the quality of life through the creation of economic and social interaction by using the technology to integrate energy, water, transport, and communication.
“This is good for a developing country like Liberia because of its most essential component to reducing poverty by allowing the participants access to sustainable, affordable, reliable and environmentally friendly, clean energy,” he said.
BCCC’s vice president for administration Dr. Charles Sumo spoke of the initiative as long overdue, noting that the introduction of the technology will provide easy access to students, leading them to develop employment opportunities at the end of their education.
“Dr. Norman and the entire college are excited about the program,” Dr. Sumo said. “We are grateful that we would be working with a technology that would change the future of our agricultural students.”
The dean of the agricultural college Chris Momo said the department has about 100 students that would lead the campaign to make the technology popular after the graduation.
“For once, we will be leading a campaign to make history,” Dean Momo said.
Other speakers who assured support to the program included representatives of FDA, Mary Meals Liberia, Tubmanburg City Mayor, Head of Traditional Leaders in Bomi, Ministry of Agriculture, Traditional Council, youth organizations and Bomi Christian Community.
Dr. Norman, who spoke in a video presentation from the United States, explained the value of the program and called on the students and the community for their support.
Traditional leaders have promised 200 acres of land and more in the future to the BCCC as the college strives to identify alternative means to increase its economic viability.