Fascinating talk about bamboo usage in building construction.

As in many tropical regions, bamboo forest is very common in the south of Nigeria, they grow effortlessly usually near swampy areas or streams.

I remember my father made our outside kitchen from bamboo with palm tree leaves as the roof. It was a practical kitchen with space to keep few firewood away from rain and a bamboo swinging half-door (aganrandi) and a latch to keep domestic goats off.  The kitchen served the family well for about three years before he had to take it down as termites had eaten into the bamboo pillars.

Around the same time, we had a farm barn made of bamboo to store maize and house the chickens, called it Abe ile (under the roof) so-called as it was the place to take shelter when it’s raining or if we all need to meet up for lunch. Abe ile was a lot bigger than the village kitchen.

As abundant as bamboo is, they are susceptible to termites. Using regular insecticides like Raid is not cost-effective so people tend to use bamboo in construction knowing they will have to re-build in two or three years down the line.

Listening to Elora Hardy Tedtalk was enlightening  as it shows that with proper treatment, the possibilities are limitless.

Beautiful home she has there …

Categories: Africa, Nigeria

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34 replies

  1. If you listen closely, you can hear children singing a beautiful song about bamboo in this video: Refer to link:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing the link.

      That’s interesting re bamboo charcoal.

      When cooking with firewood, you don’t taste the firewood smoke from the food except for barbecue (suya) but in the case of bamboo no matter how tightly the food is covered, the smoke still escape into the food and thus ruin the taste. I suppose if there is a way of eliminating the unappealing smoke/odour from bamboo coal, then it will be well received by many people, I think.


      • Hello again! I’m very curious as to why you would be getting a bad taste from cooking with bamboo charcoal. I contacted a scientist in Ghana who is an expert on bamboo to investigate this issue further. Would you kindly send him an email so we can help to try and find out more about the cause of the bad taste of food when cooking with bamboo charcoal. The email address is He Michael Kwaku – Director of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan in Ghana.

        I’m also very interested in the topic of deforestation and associated threats to wildlife habitat – and I feel that if a lot of people were able to make a switch to using bamboo charcoal it could help to make a difference for the well-being of both people and wildlife. In addition, I noticed a difference regards smoke produced from making charcoal including bamboo charcoal from the technique used. In this video there is little smoke produced when making bamboo charcoal compared to other techniques, for example. Refer to link:

        Liked by 1 person

        • The unappealing taste from bamboo smoke is simple to test out. A simple experiment can be conducted, cooking say, yam using bamboo sticks and the other pot, real wood, the food will taste differently. This should not be a deterrent in any way, it just means over time our tastebud will get used to bamboo taste in food.

          The video clip you sent is of charcoal being made from real wood and not bamboo. This reminds me of another reason why bamboo is not very common for cooking. Bamboo sticks burn faster than real wood, this means that one needs more quantity of bamboo to complete a task real wood would do with fewer sticks.

          Having said that with competitive price, there is a huge market for bamboo coal in Nigeria.


          • I’ve also had correspondence with a scientist in Ethiopia regarding the taste of food cooked with bamboo charcoal. So far, I have found that there are people in Ghana and Ethiopia who do not have this issue regarding an unpleasant taste. In fact, in Ghana and Ethiopia there were people who even preferred the food cooked with bamboo charcoal and would pay more for it. Perhaps there is a range of possibilities as to why there is a difference in Nigeria?

            Liked by 1 person

      • Hello again! I am very curious as to what could be causing the bad taste when cooking with bamboo charcoal. I contacted a scientist in Ghana who is an expert on bamboo. Would you kindly contact him by email so we can investigate this further. He is Michael Kwaku who is the Director of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan in Ghana. His email address is

        Also I noticed there is a difference regards smoke production depending on how charcoal is made. In this example – there is little smoke produced when making bamboo charcoal as compared to other methods I’ve seen online:

        I’m interested in the topic of deforestation and protection of wildlife habitat. I feel that it would make a difference to the well-being of both people and also wildlife if people used bamboo charcoal rather than wood timber charcoal.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Deforestation is real in Nigeria and area that should bother everyone. I agree that it will help us a long way to try something new so as to protect wildlife.

          The challenge here is that most people likely to be using bamboo coal for cooking are the same people at the bottom of social and economic ladder – this group is harder to convince especially if they have to pay more for products.
          I think bamboo coal has lots of potential, the target in the first instance are the hospitality industries in our cities, then households.

          Folks in the rural areas likely be pleased to learn new ways to utilise bamboo.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Wouldn’t it be great if more people in Nigeria got together to have a Bamboo college or colleges like the Hardy family are doing in Indonesia – to build knowledge and skills to have uniquely African design bamboo houses. Here is my blog:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely joke about the two guys lifting one bamboo stem & the single woman carry more than one

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Who would have thought you could actually build a mansion out of baboo, beautiful indeed

    Liked by 1 person

  5. wow! that’s a beautiful home 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It would make sense to have an outside kitchen in your hot climate. We like to cook out side in the summer too on a barbecue. If only our weather were moderate enough to do that all year round.

    Liked by 1 person

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