EcoPlanet Bamboo operates a smallholder farmer model within the company's Eastern Africa operations. These operations target a dual objective of achieving high ecosystem benefits, including a reduction in soil erosion and protection of riparian areas, with ensuring longterm benefits flow to smallholder farmers and landowners.
These operations currently include projects for which EcoPlanet Bamboo serves as the implementation partner:
Rwanda Riparian Restoration Project
Funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands the Water for Growth project is a Government initiative managed by the Rwanda Water Resources Board, and represents the first phase of the Rwanda Riparian Restoration Project. It aims to restore the Secoko Watershed and reduce further soil erosion and siltation of water resources. EcoPlanet developed and operates a dedicated nursery in order to supply this project with select species of clumping bamboo. In 2020 EcoPlanet successfully planted 150km of riparian buffer zones with smallholder farmers and riparian communities. These bamboo plantings are now undergoing maintenance activities.
In 2022, in partnership with ClimatePartner and the Rwanda Water Resources Board, the Rwanda Riparian Restoration Project committed to a 1,000 km buffer zone planting project, targeting fragile and critical upland watersheds. The first 500 km was successfully planted between October 2022 and February 2023.
African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)
AWF in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board is undertaking a pilot project towards the landscape restoration of areas surrounding the Volcanoes National Park. EcoPlanet Bamboo is the technical and on the ground implementation partner for this project. This national park represents a key critical habitat for endangered mountain gorillas, of which only 800 remain in the wild. Yushania alpina, an endemic species of bamboo, serves as a key food source for these gorillas. EcoPlanet Bamboo has successfully developed a stock of planting material for this species, and reforestation activities are planned for 2021.
All Rwanda based developments build off an extended Feasibility Study, "A Bamboo Based Bio-Economy for Rwanda" commissioned by the Government of Rwanda, IUCN and the German Ministry of Environment.
In addition to the smallholder farmer projects under development, EcoPlanet Bamboo provides advisory services to government institutions, conservation organizations and various partners working towards common goals across Eastern Africa, with a focus on Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia.