In Burundi, corn, rice and coffee are the main cultures often practiced and which support the daily life of above 90% of Burundians. Consequently, their residues have become a challenge in the community. In Gitega, the political capital of Burundi, tons of rice bran and rice straw have become pollution, which has caused people to start burning them. In the same city, there are BUDECA and OLAM, the two large coffee factories that also use burning to get rid of tons of coffee husk. The corncobs of maize which are cultivated by almost the farmers and Burundian families are also burned to free the stocks finally to find spaces for the following harvests.
All this leads to air pollution with harmful effects on the population health like various respiratory diseases and cases of cancer that we are facing in our communities and also the acceleration of the effects of climate change which are threatening our country and we have already recorded cases of loss of life due to torrential rains.
Therefore, KAZE Green Economy (KAGE) is a social enterprise I founded in 2017 as a pioneer of circular economy in our country to provide an innovative solution of an eco-friendly charcoal produced from agricultural residues including these coffee husks, rice bran and corncobs of maize as the main raw material. Currently, thanks to the partnership with the office of Gitega city in charge of Sanitation, household organic waste and charcoal dust residues are recycled and added as intra products in our eco-friendly charcoal production system.
Our eco-friendly charcoal is sold in environmentally friendly packaging and recyclable cardboard to beat plastic bag pollution and we also manufacture these packaging from the recycling of waste paper and cardboard which also had the burning as final destination in many institutions and businesses.
After the sale, we collect the ashes from our customers to recycle them into soil amendment for farmers, which enriches our soil and increases the harvest while avoiding soil pollution caused by chemical fertilizers.
In addition of promoting the circular economy, we are fighting against the deforestation related to the use of wood as the main source of cooking energy as in Burundi we were losing 5000 to 7000 ha of forest every year. Importantly, we are contributing to achieve the Paris agreement goals and the Sustainable Development goals especially number 13 and 7 while creating also job opportunities.