SME Charcoal Briquette Producers Emerging in Tanzania

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Charcoal briquette producers from Tumaini (“hope” in Kiswahili) group, Vikuge Village in Kibaha District, have invested in a 1.5hp electrical briquette extruder 11 months after receiving training through the “Waste to Wealth” project.  The project, which is  funded through the World Bank’s Biomass Energy Initiative for Africa (BEIA), has helped 720 people in 24 villages in two Districts to receive comprehensive training and the basic equipments to begin producing charcoal briquettes.

Mr. Rashidi Saidi Mpute, making payment on the Tumani groups new electrical briquette extruder

The Vikuge group, who participated in the training from September 20th – 24th, 2011 currently has 18 members, including 11 women and 7 men.  The group now has a strong core of committed members and are working on increasing their capacity considerably.  This is evident in the fact that the group raised 850,000 Tsh (530 USD) and purchased the electrical extruder with the aim of increasing its production capacity on a commercial scale.

In discussions with Mr. Rashidi Saidi Mpute, the groups oldest member, ARTI asked about the process the group undertook to raise the money.  Mr. Mpute simply said, “it made sense…since last year we have been producing and using the charcoal briquettes in our homes.  We have been saving the money we would of been spending on traditional charcoal and now we are spending that money to increase our capacity.  We will now be able to produce for our homes and to sell to our neighbours.  Any additional char powder we produce we can sell it to the Bagamoyo Brikwiti Company that has larger capacity extruders…we all look forward to making some money from this business.”

Mussa Omary Kaputila from Vikuge Village helps pack the Tumaini group's new extruder for transport back to the village

Mr. Mussa Omary Kaputili, another Tumaini group member, indicated that the jump from a manual extruder to an electrical extruder will significantly boost their production and profits as more energy can be dedicated to producing the char powder and selling the briquettes.

Over the past 2 years 9 charcoal briquetting groups have increased their capacity from the manual extruder to the electrical extruder, roughly increasing their capacity to 300-500kg per day.  The Bagamoyo Brikwiti Company has made a further leap in production having just  received delivery of two electrical extruders with and the capacity to produced 5000kg per day.

The adoption higher capacity extruders and the growth in entrepreneurship amongst the charcoal briquette groups trained through the BEIA project in Coast Region of Tanzania provides tangible proof of the long term viability of the industry.  With further investment this trend is most likely to continue in the same direction.