A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Biochar, reveals that African countries have the greatest potential to benefit from using biochar as a method to sequester carbon and improve crop yields. The study, commissioned by the International Biochar Initiative (IBI), identifies Eswatini and Malawi as the countries that could make the most significant carbon reductions.
The report highlights the importance of biochar in helping African countries reduce emissions and support farmers who face the severe impacts of climate change. For instance, cocoa farmers in Ghana reported a 30% increase in average yields after incorporating biochar into their practices. This is particularly significant in a country where deforestation has severely damaged soil quality.
Biochar, which is created by heating crop or wood residue instead of allowing it to decompose, effectively locks in carbon. When added to soil, biochar enhances water and nutrient retention, resulting in long-lasting improvements. The study estimates that up to 6% of global annual carbon emissions can be reduced through biochar usage. However, in several African countries, the percentage of emissions that can be mitigated is significantly higher than in developed nations.
This research comes just ahead of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), where finding solutions to Africa’s climate change crisis will be a primary focus. The study emphasizes the urgency of biochar research in African countries due to their vulnerability to climate change impacts.
Eswatini, Malawi, Ghana, Burundi, Rwanda, Mali, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda are among the countries with the potential to remove substantial portions of their emissions through biochar implementation. The authors of the report call for global leaders to prioritize biochar as part of every country’s climate change strategy, emphasizing its ability to safely store carbon, contribute to food production, decarbonize built environments, and purify water and soil.
It is important to note that the opinions and statements expressed in the Africa Desk, including the articles produced by the Hanns Seidel Foundation, do not necessarily reflect those of the foundation itself.