In Ghana, that cultivation of Bamboo as an energy plantation is ideally suited due to the tropical climate. Clenergen will supply a high yielding variety of Bamboo, which is the result of extensive breeding and microbiology applications. The density of the wood is nearly 5 times that of normal bamboo. Harvesting will can commence after year two and then mechanically harvested from year four onwards, generating on average 96 tonnes per hectare per annum.
Clenergen Ghana will be demonstrating high density plantations of bamboo at sites in Northern, Western and Ashanti region. Along with Bamboo, the demonstration sites will trial Melia dubia, a tree species from the Neem family, which has the unique feature of growing to 40 foot high within 2 years and then re-growing from its stub. Like Bamboo, both species do not require arable land and can be cultivated in regions were soil quality is poor.
Wood fuel is one of the main products of the forests. Approximately 60 percent of the world’s total wood removals from forest and outside forests are used for energy purposes. While the developed countries use only 30 percent of wood produced for energy, the developing countries use 80 percent for the same purpose. The bulk of energy supply in Ghana is met from wood fuels, i.e. firewood and charcoal. Wood fuels account for about 71±1 percent of total primary energy supply and about 60 percent of the final energy demand.
WOODFUEL DEMAND AND SUPPLY SITUATION
The bulk of wood fuels amounting to 90 percent are obtained directly from the natural forest. The remaining 10 percent is from wood waste i.e. logging and sawmill residue, and planted forests. The transition and savannah zones of Ghana, mainly the Kintampo, Nkoranza, Wenchi, Afram Plains, Damongo districts provide the bulk of dense wood resources for wood fuels.
However, wood fuel resources are depleting at a faster rate as a result of unsustainable practices in the production and marketing of the product that incurs high levels of waste. According to the UN Food 1 M.A. Trossero, FAO, Unasylva 211, Vol. 53, 2002 and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the rate of deforestation in Ghana is 3% per year.
In 2000, the annual production or yield of wood was about 30 million tonnes of which about 18 million tonnes was available and accessible for wood fuels. Although the exploitation of wood resources for wood fuels is not the main cause of deforestation, there are indications that the preferred wood fuel species are gradually disappearing. The major charcoal production areas of Donkorkrom, Kintampo, Nkoranza, Wenchi, and Damongo show physical signs of depleted wood fuel resources. As a result, producers have to travel longer distances in search of wood for charcoal production. Also, the extensive use of less preferred wood species for fuel such as neem and wawa are becoming popular.
Since a majority of households, about 80% in Ghana depend on wood fuels for cooking and water heating in addition to commercial, industrial and institutional use, the demand for wood fuel has for the past years been on the increase. As indicated above about 18 million tonnes of fuel wood was used in year 2000. If this trend of consumption continues, Ghana is likely to consume more than 25 million tonnes of fuel wood by the year 2020.
ENERGY COMMISSION- RENEWABLE ENERGY DIVISION