Bamboo Lota hopes to bring environmental, health, and economic improvements to poverty-stricken Malawians through the establishment of a diverse bamboo company. "Lota" means "to dream" in Chichewa and our dream is to bring real, positive change to the lives of impoverished Malawians through the use of bamboo products. During the last 15-20 years, bamboo has developed as an exceptionally valuable and superior substitute for wood. Bamboo-based products are hard and durable and valuable for construction. Because of bamboo's ability to replace wood in many industrial applications, it will contribute to the saving and restoration of the world's forests. It has tremendous potential for economic and environmental development and international trade.
Although Bamboo Lota plans to use bamboo in many products, our main focus is on charcoal. Bamboo Lota aims to replace traditional depletion of forest biomass for charcoal production with a fast-growing bamboo alternative while bolstering local rural economy. Rural villagers would learn from us the tools necessary to successfully maintain and harvest bamboo while gaining knowledge on the importance of ecological stewardship. Moreover, our bamboo charcoal would be produced cleaner using improved kiln technology. The bamboo would be planted on customary land owned by local title holders. The opportunity for a sustainable source of income makes this forest-based activity more commercially attractive than other land usages.
Charcoal is often seen today as a backwards and obsolete fuel source. However, for the majority of the population in Malawi, charcoal usage is a way of life. The charcoal trade, if regulated, is a vastly immense market that has the capability to become a top agricultural earner alongside tobacco and tea. In addition, powdered charcoal when used as a feed additive for cattle can increase production of milk and improve meat quality; this is crucial for a lagging dairy and meat industry. Charcoal is produced from the timber and wood of local forests and has led to much of the deforestation and environmental degradation in the country.
The business would formalize the value chain for charcoal by employing producers on the plantation, transporters between nodes of business, and retailers in rural, peri-urban, and urban areas. The community members would become stakeholders in the growing bamboo market and in the future be able to transition from charcoal production to various other demandable bamboo goods.
Environmental Goods or Services, Social Enterprise