Dar es Salaam. A government taskforce has proposed that a charcoal policy be drawn up to formalise the business.
The chairman of the taskforce, Prof John Kessy, told BusinessWeek that it was important for charcoal trade to be recognised for businesspeople to do it freely and contribute to the national coffers.
Prof Kessy was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting on transforming Tanzania’s charcoal trade.
It was held under the aegis of the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), which started in 2015 and will end November 2019.
Another recommendation from the task force was that charcoal producers should find more than one source rather than relying on forest alone.
In February. this year, during the Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum, the minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union Affairs and Environment), Mr January Makamba, said at least 22,000 people die annually due to respiratory diseases caused by charcoal use.
A TFCG report indicates that Tanzania loses 412,000 hectares of forest annually.
“We have been tasked by the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism,” said Prof Kessy.
He explained that the technology should be improved as charcoal producers still use old technology, resulting in poor production.
He also suggested the Tanzania Forest Authority be established to coordinate forest issues instead of the current multi-coordination.
“We have brought these suggestions to this meeting so that stakeholders can discuss because TFCG is set to implement phase three of the project. So, they wanted to know what we proposed so as they can make adjustment in some areas.”
TFCG executive director Charles Meshack said since the project started more than 200,000 villagers in Kilosa, Morogoro Rural and Mvomero districts in Morogoro Region had benefited from phase two of the project.
“We are coming to an end of our project so we have to discuss how this structure can be spread in other districts during the phase three. We are collecting views from stakeholders.”
He said the project had brought a huge impact as more than 400,000 hectares of village forestland were reserved and the revenue collected from sustainable harvest of charcoal was spent on constructing classrooms, dispensary and water boreholes.
He added that the villagers were taught how best to use land including forest planting and preparing strategy on sustainable charcoal.
Charcoal producers were taught on the kind of trees that could be cut.