LUSAKA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Twenty-three-year-old Zambian entrepreneur Sammy Muhosho, in his effort to harness waste resources and contribute to the fight against climate change, has ventured into the production of charcoal briquettes as an alternative energy source by using agricultural wastes such as maize cobs, rice husks, groundnut shells as well as clay, water and cassava flour.
The move is meant to help lessen dependence on charcoal made from trees, which has resulted in high levels of deforestation in the southern African nation.
Muhosho, founder and chief executive officer of Baila Energy Limited, a waste management company, said he decided to start the project because he has always been obsessed with entrepreneurism from a young age, and that the project also serves as one way to contribute to the fight against climate change.
"I decided to venture into this because of climate change. Everyone is talking about climate change, so we looked around for solutions, (and) alternatives to tree-cutting to make charcoal," he added.
Since its establishment two years ago in Mongu district in western Zambia, Muhosho said that the demand has been good, a situation that forced him to relocate to Lusaka, the country's capital where the demand is even higher.
Apart from meeting household demand, Muhosho said they also have commercial customers such as poultry farmers as well as pig farmers and that the company has been getting inquiries from all parts of the country.
The company, which has so far employed five young people, intends to expand by being a major supplier of charcoal briquettes to various parts of the country, and even to neighboring countries, although it still has challenges in improving production.
According to Muhosho, the company needs a charcoal-briquette-making machine to improve output because current production is not able to meet demand. The company now produces 200 pieces of charcoal briquettes per day.
"We always have demand but the supply is low. Sometimes we have people that need 1,000 pieces and we only have 200 pieces, so we never satisfy the market," he added.
Muhosho believes that young people should not only look to the government for jobs but be innovative and creative, noting that he learned how to make the briquettes on social media.
He believes that fighting climate change requires concerted efforts from everyone, hence his decision to share his knowledge with others. So far the company has trained about 25 other people.
The project, he said, has the capacity to fight climate change because apart from reducing the cutting of trees, the charcoal is smoke-free and that it lasts longer compared to the one produced from trees.
Apart from making charcoal briquettes, the company is also helping in protecting the environment through the collection of wastes such as old calendars, used plastics, and newspapers which they recycle and use in making bags for packaging. ■