Cameroon Has an Abundance of Biomass Available

Cameroon has the third largest biomass potential in Sub-Saharan Africa, though it remains underexploited because of lack of technology.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, holds that Cameroon has the largest biomass potential in Sub-Saharan Africa. The country boasts substantial forest biomass potential (in terms of firewood and wood waste) and considerable non-forest biomass (from agricultural residue), which represent the second source of biomass in the country.

"Biomass is available everywhere," explained William Lemnyuy Albun Banye, an Agro-Industrial Engineer and Sub-Director for Waste, Toxic and Hazardous Chemical Management in the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development. He stated that the country's wood, sawdust and industrial waste were some of the products that can generate energy if well exploited. Cameroon's potential is huge, but few business people are willing to invest. "This sector provides a lot of opportunities for investors," stressed Albun Banye.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, says over 20 million hectares of Cameroon land is forested landmass. The country however lost over 4 million hectares of forest cover (at an average rate of 220,000 hectares annually) between 1990 and 2010. The forests contain 2,696 million metric tonnes of carbon in living forest biomass. This covers a wide range of crops generating different quantities of waste from agriculture. Logs from rubber trees, seeds and cake from cotton, parchment bagasse from Robusta coffee, molasses and empty fruit bunches from sugar cane and kernel shells from palm oil, form some of the biomass with economically-recoverable energy.