From Farm to Furniture: C.K.T UTAS’s Sustainable Journey with Rice Husk Plywood

From Farm to Furniture: C.K.T UTAS‘s Sustainable Journey with Rice Husk Plywood is an article that follows the inspiring story of young students at C.K.T UTAS.

Entrepreneurial Action for Us (Enactus) is a global non-profit organisation uniting students, academics, and business leaders committed to enhancing the quality of life through entrepreneurship. Enactus places a strong emphasis on merging entrepreneurial solutions with social and environmental impact.

Operating in universities worldwide, Enactus has empowered students to leverage their business and economic knowledge, crafting projects that tackle diverse social, economic, and environmental challenges. A crucial aspect for Enactus is ensuring that products arising from these projects are designed to generate sustainable impacts and enable communities to achieve self-sufficiency.

Enactus teams actively engage in regional, national, and international competitions, where they present their projects and vie for recognition and support. The scope of Enactus projects encompasses education, environmental sustainability, economic development, and the empowerment of marginalised communities.

The primary objective of this competition and the convergence of like-minded individuals is to cultivate socially responsible business leaders. These leaders, equipped with entrepreneurial skills, aim to make a positive impact on the world by addressing urgent social challenges.

Notably, the Enactus team at C.K Tedam University for Technology and Applied Science (CKT-UTAS) in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality of the Upper East Region, Ghana, has achieved an exceptional feat by winning the national competition three consecutive times. Team Lead, David Amoak, attributes their success to consistency, sacrifice, and a commitment to learning.

Recently, the CKT-UTAS Enactus Team represented Ghana at the World Cup, where they showcased two projects: Waste Tech and EcoHusk. This article delves deeper into Ecohusk, which creates environmentally friendly products from excess rice husk and straw. 

This groundbreaking approach empowers rice farmers, enhancing their productivity and income.

We had the opportunity to converse with David Amoak, Team Lead for Enactus CKT-UTAS. Here’s what he shared.

Project Overview

Project Ecohusk creates a variety of environmentally friendly products from excess rice husk and straw, byproducts of rice farming. The use of adhesives and rice husk emphasises the uniqueness of our project. Rice husks are used to make plywood sheets for furniture and acoustics, and can also be utilised in packaging, ceiling panels, and other applications.

Technical Details

Rice husk is readily available, and its combination with adhesive highlights the novelty of our project. Rice husk can be moulded into different shapes, sizes, and colours based on customer preferences. We employ moulds, ovens, adhesives, and colours in our process.

Social Impact

Transforming rice husk into plywood will alleviate pressure on our local economy and reduce the high cost of plywood on the market, especially in the northern part of Ghana, where most of our plywood originates from the southern part. This innovation will empower small businesses, especially carpentry shops, as plywood becomes more accessible and less expensive.

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Environmental Sustainability

We apply sound business principles to sustain our project, and our byproducts are consistently available throughout the year, reducing production costs and subsequently the cost of plywood. Repurposing rice husk, instead of burning it, will significantly reduce its environmental impact on global warming.

Collaboration and Partnership

Ecohusk, initiated about five months ago, collaborates with furniture manufacturers and architects in the Kassena Nankana municipality in the Upper East region of Ghana. We are open to collaborations and partnerships with individuals or corporate bodies on this project.

Challenges and Solutions

Initially, we faced the challenge of pests infesting our plywood. To tackle this, we introduced the use of paint and other substances to prevent pest infestation.

Future Plans and Scalability

The team has plans to scale up production to serve all the regions in the northern part of Ghana and beyond.

Community Engagement and Education

We engage farmers in Bonia, Gaani, and others to educate them about the environmental impact of burning rice husk and encourage them to patronise our locally made plywood, which is durable and less expensive.

In conclusion, the Enactus initiative stands as a beacon of hope and transformation, bringing together passionate students, academic scholars, and business leaders dedicated to enhancing the quality of life through entrepreneurship. It would take greater partnership to help these young individuals succeed.

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