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Assessing the potential socio-economic opportunities and challenges of Bio-char adoption on small-holder farming systems

Research project in Development Geography

Project's title: Assessing the potential socio-economic opportunities and challenges of Bio-char adoption on small-holder farming systems

Project's duration: 2013-2019

Contact person: Yahia Mahmoud

Researchers on the project:

  • Yahia Mahmoud
  • Cecilia Sundberg (SLU)
  • Kristina Roing de Nowina (IITA)

Overview

Bio-char has recently received attention in scientific and popular media for its potential to sequester C, enhance soil fertility and provide options for food preparation through bio-char. Despite the positive agro-ecological potential, little is known about the socio-economic impacts of bio-char use and adaptability. Since sustainable agricultural intensification approaches with enhanced resilience to climate change for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are called for, considering that SSA has low food availability per capita, this study explores biochar as a potential smallholder technology in Kenya. The overall objective is to generate evidence-based knowledge on the role bio-char can play in small-holder farming systems. Specific objectives are: 

  1. To characterise and quantify available organic resources (OR) for bio-char production at farm level. 
  2. To assess bio-char stoves for energy use efficiency, and quantity and quality of bio-char output, depending on OR used, compared to current uses of OR. 
  3. To evaluate how different quality bio-char affects crop productivity and soil biological, chemical and physical processes. 
  4. To assess and evaluate socio-economic impact of bio-char at farm level and propose optimized ways to use OR for better impacts on energy, farm-level output and soil health.

The project is a multidisciplinary one involving several researchers (engineers, agronomist and geographers) from SLU at Uppsala, the Department of Human Geography in Lund and ITTA in Kenya. The project is funded by SIDA.

Page Manager:

The Department of Human Geography
and the Human Ecology Division

Address: Sölvegatan 10,
223 62 Lund
Phone: 046-222 17 59

Faculty of Social Sciences