With the immense number of citizens, the western African country of Ghana has changed the means of travelling and enhanced transportation industry in the country by creatively seeing a project to make bicycle out of bamboo plants. ‘Bamboo Rides’ as they are known are bicycles which are hand made by combining bamboo plants to make the body of the bicycle and iron mechanisms to make a saddle and the bike horns.
“Our mission is to produce high quality affordable bamboo products which have both economic and social benefits to customers around the world”
Boomers International is a subsidiary social enterprise of the Yonso project, which produces and markets bamboo accessories on both the Ghanaian and international markets.
This innovative company manufactures different types of bamboo bicycles and accessories such as bicycle stands and baskets. Their aim is to help improve transportation and create youth employment, address climate change issues and to alleviate poverty especially in rural communities.
“We were looking at how we can engage the youth in the right areas into a meaningful venture,” says company Founder and CEO Kwabena Danso.
The bamboo bike initiative has been a long established industry but recently improved due to the reintroduction of the concept by renowned bicycle designer Craig Calfee in 1995. Calfee went on to form Bamboosero, a Californian company dedicated to increasing the uptake of bamboo bicycles, particularly in developing countries.
Another African country that also has such an initiative is Zambia, where the transport system does not meet the ability to cater for inhabitants of rural areas and that is what the Yonso project aims to achieve for Ghana.
Danso recognises the challenges of manufacturing in rural Ghana well, including low capital, high production costs and unreliable electricity sources. “Sometimes you come to work for two days and there is no light,” Danso says. “That’s a really big problem to manufacturing in Africa.”
Nevertheless with these challenges Danso is determined for his bicycles to travel the globe. “In the next five years we want to conquer the world,” he adds. He wishes for Boomers to develop a resource not only for bicycles, but also furniture, household items and even houses made of bamboo. “We want to make this place the point where you come and get everything from bamboo.”
More Information can be sourced at www.yonsoproject.org