The East Africa Sisal Company Ltd.

June 6, 2016

Sisal is a highly sustainable fibre crop grown in the tropics. With the ability to survive sustained periods of drought and be harvested at any time of the year, sisal provides a sustainable source of income to small-scale farmers and helps them to cope with the effects of climate change. Historically, sisal was manufactured and used for making ropes and sacks. However, the development of cheaper polypropylene meant that the 1960s proved to be a turning point for sisal production, with East African production now at 10% of its former peak.

The East Africa Sisal Company was founded in 2014 with the aim rekindling a market for sisal. The company’s founder, John Ferguson, has focused on buying sisal from small-scale farmers in Tanzania for a fair price, process it locally and thereby creating jobs, and exporting their products to the UK and EU. The company has principally been focusing on manufacturing the sisal into geotextiles, or GeoSisal, a biodegradable and sustainable fabric for various environmental applications.

In late 2014 and early 2015, the company began manufactured GeoSisal into Peatsocks, designed to be filled with peat on site to act as dams for bog and peatland rewetting. Dams were installed in two phases to rewet dried peatland areas near Cunningsburgh, Shetland. The work was funded by SNH’s Peatland Action Programme and was carried out by the Shetland Amenity Trust. GeoSisal peat socks were filled on site and used to dam the existing peatland drainage channels. As a result of the damming, the overall water table within the bog was raised, improving the condition of the peatland and allowing the peat to reabsorb substantial quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. After having been in place for over 18 months, the dams are holding fast and have allowed the area to regenerate with large quantities of Sphagnum colonising throughout the pools. The dams have also allowed vegetation to colonise the dammed peat, adding to the structural integrity of the dam, although the dams will biodegrade over time.

The company continues to be involved in a number of environmental projects, including ongoing peatland restoration in Ireland and coastal realignment in the Inner Forth Area. Furthermore, the Mourne Mountains Landscape Partnership is currently preparing to undertake peatland restoration works using the GeoSisal Peatsocks later this summer.

If you have a project where you may be interested in using GeoSisal Peatsocks, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with josh.hope@eastafricasisal.com.

GeoSisal Peatsock dams forming an effective and sustainable peat damGeoSisal

GeoSisal Peatsock dams forming an effective and sustainable peat dam; Sisal peat dams with pools in between that have been colonised by Sphagnum moss.

Bog Tales flyer
Bog Tales: Storytelling for peatland scientists training opportunityAn exciting funded training opportunity for peatland researchers to take part in SAGES official #…
Carbon Storage and Sequestration by Habitat 2021 (NERR094) Fig. 1.2
Carbon Storage and Sequestration by Habitat 2021 (NERR094)A new Natural England Research Report on ‘Carbon Storage and Sequestration by Habitat’ reviews the…
Join our team image
We are recruiting a Peatland Programme OfficerWe are recruiting for a Peatland Programme Officer to join the IUCN UK Peatland Programme team.
MAPP image
Mapping the contribution of Phototrophic microbes to the global carbon cycle of PeatlandsA group of peatland scientists is building a database of the diversity, abundance, biomass, and…
Green Recovery Challenge Fund
Applications open for second round of Green Recovery Challenge FundThis £40million fund will once again support projects across England to restore nature, tackle…
Peatland Code logo
IHS Markit to Launch Global Carbon Credit Meta-RegistryThe first global meta-registry aims to provide transparency and efficient tracking, accounting and…
Nature Recovery Plan
Nature’s recovery can create 7,000 new jobs in ScotlandNew research from leading Scottish environment charities shows that backing their plan for nature’s…
The Extraordinary Story of Peat and Carbon
New short animation explores the extraordinary story of peat and carbonExploring the extraordinary quantities of carbon locked up on millennial timescales within peatland…
February newsletter: winter edition
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2021Read the latest IUCN UK Peatland Programme newsletter.
The West Cavan Bog Association Site
Eyes on the Bog: The West Cavan Bog Association SitesTwo new Eyes on the Bog sites have been established by the West Cavan Bog Association, in Fartrin…
IUCN UK PP Conference
Reflections from the 10th IUCN UK Peatland Programme ConferenceThe 10th annual IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference was delivered online for the first time, with…
UK GHG inventory
Peatland addition to the UK GHG inventory adds 3.5% to national emissionsThe end of January saw the long awaited, formal inclusion of peatlands in the UK GHG emissions…