Gliricidia is a fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing, high calorific value tree which coppices well and is abundant in Sri Lanka. It is the most attractive of the biomass sources, as the branches grow in a very straight form, reaching several feet in length and are ready for harvest once in every 18 months in dry zone and once in every 12 months in wet zone of Sri Lanka. Gliricidia trees can be harvested for at least 20 years by using sustainable harvesting methods – where the trunk and roots are left intact.
The coppicing of Gliricidia branches is a source of additional income to the farmer. In addition to this income from selling wood, Gliricidia has multiple further benefits. As a nitrogen fixing plant, Gliricidia is principally grown for its leaves. The leaves are rich in proteins and are used as fodder for animals and provide base material for fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. This enables a farmer to reduce the money spent on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Through its roots pulling up nutrients and use of its leaves, Gliricidia improves soils which leads to higher crop yields. Other uses of the tree are as a live fence and as a support tree. In plantations, Gliricidia is used as a shade tree and soil improver. The trunk and roots of the Gliricidia tree remains sequestering carbon for 20 years – this is carbon sink.
30 kilograms of Gliricidia leaves can replace the entire UREA requirement input of a single coconut tree for a year.
Biomass Supplies has the most sustainable biomass fuel in the world. We became the 1st company in Asia to achieve RSB accreditation for our biomass resources and are now connecting smallholder farmers to the global bio-energy value chain.
Sustainable and ethical biomass sourced fuel is used to replace fossil fuels – i.e. fuel oil in industrial boilers and coal in power stations.
Biomass Supplies works with farmers using the Out-Grower Model – we have established relationships with smallholder farmers and plantation owners across Sri Lanka; these parties own the land and have the necessary agricultural skills to grow food and fuel crops. Many of the registered farmers are women of the household.
We do not acquire land to establish fuelwood plantations and we do not change land use. Biomass Supplies actively discourages mono-cultivation of crops – which is not seen in nature. The production of biomass fuel enhances rather than competes with food production.
We work with agricultural communities across the country to increase their economic returns from both biomass fuel and food production – as well as delivering broader social and environmental benefits such as better health and countering climate change.