Imiseba – Maize Charcoal

A project not only to create jobs in Kabwe, but also to do something about the deforestation of the earth’s forests.

Many of us enjoy the barbecue evenings in summer. But are you aware that the charcoal for it is often made of tropical wood? And did you know that Zambia has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world and that there may not be any trees left in 2030, as the population is dependent on charcoal as a source of energy for cooking and heating? You can find out more about this and the reason why maize (corn) has a great potential as an alternative, especially for Zambia, on page 2.

Project idea: Sale of corncobs (central core of an ear of corn without kernels) from Kabwe as an alternative to barbecue charcoal in Germany and Zambia.

Project name: In Bemba, one of the most spoken languages in Zambia, corncops are called “Imiseba“. We want to use this name as a brand name for our project idea in order to point out the connection with Zambia.

Project structure: The corncobs will be collected in Kabwe and from local farmers for a remuneration. They will then be sorted, dried, weighed and bagged by employees on our premises in the Lukanga district. These are intended for sale in Germany and Zambia. The bags are to be shipped regularly to Germany in containers.

Check out our offer of Imiseba in Germany:

Positive characteristics of “maize charcoal” compared with traditional barbecue charcoal:

  • Sustainable -> Instead of deforestation, “waste products” are used (corncobs are usually left over because only the corn kernels are eaten or used for food production)
  • Fast glow formation, quickly ready to grill (approx. 10-15 minutes)
  • High heat, usually higher than with charcoal
  • No “black hands”
  • No flying sparks, burns and glows constantly
  • Low smoke formation (if suitable grill and grill lighter are used)
  • No air blowing or fans necessary
  • Ash can be used as plant fertilizer

What needs to be considered when using “maize charcoal”:

  • Embers go out after about 45 minutes -> either for fast grilling or “maize charcoal” must be restocked
  • Grill type: with adjustable grill rack, remove charcoal rack or wrap with heat-resistant aluminium foil, close air supply holes, small distance between embers and grill rack, no covering hood, no column grill
  • Only suitable for some grill types and works best with liquid grill lighter (otherwise smoke formation)
  • Do not use a chimney starter, but light corncobs directly in the grill.

Learn more about the background and motivations for this project on page 2.