TCC-CIMET Empowers Maize Farmers in Ashanti Region to Transform Waste into Building Resources

In a groundbreaking initiative to address the issue of maize cob waste in farming communities, the Technology Consultancy Centre (TCC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is empowering maize farmers in Mfensi and Akrofonso communities in the Ashanti region of Ghana. The aim is to repurpose maize cobs, traditionally considered waste from the shelling or threshing process, into briquettes for sustainable building construction.

Often, maize farming communities face challenges with an abundance of maize cobs, leading to their disposal through burning in the open air. Additionally, the drudgery associated with maize shelling has discouraged potential farmers.

TCC, in collaboration with these communities, is working to transform what was once considered waste into valuable resources. The project involves capacity-building programs to train farmers in repurposing maize cobs into briquettes, which can serve as additional materials for sandcrete in building construction.

The communities are also being equipped with effective tools for corn shelling to alleviate drudgery in the farming process. The Director General of TCC, Prof. Francis Davis, emphasized that the initiative aims to contribute to a more sustainable approach by extending the value chain of maize cobs.

The resulting briquettes can serve as clean energy cooking fuels, and incorporating cobs’ ash into sandcrete reduces reliance on cement, promoting both efficient energy utilization and sustainable building materials. The outreach programs, conducted as part of the activities to mark World Engineering Day on March 4, 2024, included hands-on workshops facilitated by experts from TCC-CIMET, KNUST.

Participants actively engaged in producing their own briquettes and corn shellers. A welder and beneficiary of the program, Samuel Antwi, expressed optimism that the workshop would provide an additional source of income for him.

Another participant, Ellen Boatemaa from the Sekyere South District Assembly, hoped the project would be extended to other communities. TCC-CIMET, KNUST, a leader in Africa’s technology transfer, engineering research, and technology entrepreneurship skill development for over 50 years, has been at the forefront of sustainable development initiatives.

The World Engineering Day activities align with UNESCO’s theme for 2024, “Engineering Solutions for a Sustainable World,” and TCC-CIMET is actively contributing to the significance of this day through various programs, including webinars and seminars.