To the uninitiated, the term biochar will probably sound like it’s some sort of hazardous material involved in a sci-fi flick. But it’s quite the opposite: biochar is a soil amendment, which is to say that it helps condition the soil for planting. It is made up of agricultural waste that turned into charcoal. “Biochar is great for trapping carbon and other greenhouse gases forever in the soil,” says SBF founder Ching Camara. Apart from this, “biochar has numerous microscopic chambers that provide housing for microbes that are key to a plant’s efficient ability to take in nutrients from the soil,” Ching adds. Lastly, the material is a great heat repellant and helps cool down the beach sand, where the farm is located.

Sambali Beach Farm is at the forefront of Biochar in the Philippines, and is the official Biochar-making center as accredited by the Philippine Biochar Association (PBiA). Beyond its applications in farming, the farm also uses Biochar in creating houses, by mixing the product with sand and cement. This results in a house that controls humidity, removes mold, freshens and cools the indoor air for a comfortable living area, and neutralizes electromagnetic radiation from cellphones and other electronics.

The Farm also produces food-grade activated biochar, which removes toxins from the body. The product can be ingested to counter a bad stomach or food poisoning, and can be applied on skin or combined with face masks for a clear complexion.

The byproducts of Biochar are useful as well, one of which is wood vinegar. Wood vinegar comes from the evaporated water that results from the process of burning agricultural waste. The Farm creates a number of products that take advantage of this byproduct, under the Farm’s affiliated company Microbial Technology Solutions. These products include the Odor Buster, Fly Repeller, and wood vinegar, which can be used to get rid of wood rot.

The Farm is an adamant advocate of the application of Biochar, and has been active and is experienced in training farms, students, and organizations to implement Biochar technology. Apart from its many applications and products, Biochar technology is a simple yet powerful tool that combats climate change and provides many organic home and farming solutions.

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