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Developer to use rice straw for housing development

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By YINKA KOLAWOLE, with agency report

A property development company, Bohemian Estate Limited, has revealed plans to deploy a technology that uses rice straw for housing development in Nigeria, with a $250 million subvention from Czech Export Bank. The company is to embark on the project in collaboration with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for the construction and delivery of the first phase of 10,000 housing units in Gwagwalada using Assembly Building Block (ABS) technology.

A director with Bohemian Estate Limited, Mr. Bala Kaoje, disclosed this after a meeting with management of FMBN and a delegation from Czech Export Bank led by its head of department, Export Financing, Mr Marek Jenik, in Abuja. He said the housing project would be delivered through public sector developers from local, state and federal government agencies under existing FMBN Estate Development Loan (EDL) scheme.

ABS is a patented licensed technology for building family and apartment houses, stores, restaurants, low-rise hotels, hospitals, offices and other kinds of buildings suitable for different climate in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.

Kaoje said the company decided to embark on housing construction with ABS technology due to the rising demand for housing in the country, adding that the new technology which utilises rice straw was eco-friendly. “The government is paying much attention to the production of rice and we need to find ways to add value to our farmers so that we don’t waste the rice straw,” he said.

The former minister noted that the company was interested in the technology that uses rice straw to produce wall panels including the ceiling and roofing, noting that it is a means of creating wealth through waste. On its durability, he said: “It’s the same thing with sand-filled blocks and it can last for 20 to 50 years without having much problems rather than minor maintenance.”

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