‘Use agriculture residue as alternative for charcoal production’
Alternative sources for charcoal production like agricultural residues must be supported to be competitive against unsustainable charcoal, says the Project Manager of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Dr Cisco Aust.
He indicated that beside the potential for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), there was high potential for alternative fuel sources.
Dr Aust said this as part of the way forward for a sustainable wood energy in Ghana during a policy dialogue on the Sustainable Wood Energy Value Chain Project in Accra on Tuesday.
The “Forest Landscape Restoration through a Sustainable Wood Energy Value Chain,” project sought to conserve natural forests and restore degraded landscapes through planting and regeneration with communities, while discouraging them from cutting indigenous trees unsustainably for charcoal production.
The project which began in 2019 and would end in May, this year, was financed under the International Climate Initiative (IKI) by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) and implemented in 12 communities with restoration measures on 1000 hectares.
The project was jointly implemented by the GIZ, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) National Committee of the Netherlands, IUCN Ghana, A Rocha Ghana and Tropenbos Ghana in partnership with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Energy.
Dr Aust highlighted that with efficient kilns and stoves, the demand on woody biomass for charcoal could be reduced by up to 70 per cent, adding, “bush fire and land use management concept is key to reduce the pressure, integrate concepts for agroforestry and woodlots on suitable sites.”
Dorcas Owusuaa Agyei, Project Officer, IUCN Ghana Project Office, reiterated that wood biomass energy including charcoal and firewood was the primary source of energy in the country as, particularly charcoal production was widespread and constituted a major source of income for most rural communities.
Despite the important roles that charcoal played in the economy, the project officer at IUCN Ghana Project Office, said that charcoal production was regarded as a major cause of forest loss and degradation in the transition and Savannah zones especially in the Bono East and Savannah regions where the bulk of charcoal was produced.
Addressing the declining rate of forest or woodland resources and sustain the charcoal value chain, Ms Agyei said the “Forest Landscape Restoration through a Sustainable Wood Energy Value Chain” project was initiated in 2019 to support partner institutions to restore forest landscapes by establishing a sustainable wood energy value chain.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR