Friday, April 12, 2024

Communities called to stop cutting trees for charcoal


Alternative to Charcoal Community Influencers in Solwezi are calling on the community to adapt clean cooking methods as a way to combat climate change.

Speaking in an interview Solwezi Community Influencer Coordinator, Oliver Chilefu said charcoal is the main cause of the indiscriminate cutting of trees which results in deforestation and the depletion of natural resources.

Mr Chilefu expressed concern on how one big tree trunk can only produce one or two bags of charcoal.

“Based on a research carried out by the University of Zambia a big trunk of a tree only produces a 20 kilogrammes to 50 kilogrammes which is only one bag of charcoal, so the amount of trees the country is losing per year is too huge and in the long run it will not be sustainable,” he said.

Mr Chilefu said the essence of alternative methods to charcoal is to preserve natural resources and stop the indiscriminate cutting down of trees and that people do not realize that using alternative ways to charcoal is cheaper than using charcoal on a daily basis.

“For argument sake people ask questions like what if electricity goes, I can assure you that gel to cook is very cheap, gel liquid that is 500ml to 750ml is K25 to K30 as compared to a bag of charcoal that is K50 to K60,” he said

Mr Chilefu explained that a K50 can buy at least 75 units of electricity that can last one to two weeks but a big bag of charcoal only lasts for days which proves to be expensive.

And council of elders’ secretary, Kenneth Kapata who is also an Alternative to Charcoal influencer agreed that the amount of trees being cut down is alarming.

“It has been observed that there is a lot of deforestation in our community, as a result it will affect climate change and if we are not careful we will have a lot of places with few trees and the rains will be limited,” Mr Kapata said.

He said the programme is not prohibiting the use of charcoal completely but it is to raise awareness on how devastating charcoal is to the environment and people.

“People might not get the information there and then but we have sensitized, As we go on we hope more people may move from charcoal to alternatives because if not the calamity will be too bad on us, it is not good to experience deforestation in a place that has a lot of trees”, Mr Kapata said.

Speaking at the same function, Mutomakubiji Nguvulu who is also an alternative charcoal influencer called for citizens to work with the government to ensure the environment is protected.

Mr Nguvulu said if care is not taken the nation will lose all the trees especially in the urban area where charcoal is highly consumed.

“Let us reduce the rate at which we use charcoal and move to other alternative ways such as use of electricity,” he said.


  1. Good call for sure. But most Zambians in rural areas simply don’t have electricity, or LPG and other means are just not available, or too expensive. Unless a real government ban on charcoal production is implemented, with policing behind it, I can’t see production will go down. People need to cook!

  2. The two largest contributors to de-forestation are agriculture and mining. So if your research found charcoal burning as the prime culprit then you’re a liar. Charcoal burners don’t uproot trees, besides they only harvest fully grown trees and leave small ones to grow. But mining & farming will stump out all trees. There’s nothing wrong with harvesting grown trees for wood and charcoal, what’s wrong is to clear hectares of land for farming as such portions of land will never grow any trees. While I support you for your efforts to advise people to use alternative sources of energy, I think your message is misleading. Besides many households aren’t connected to the electricity grid so how you expect them to cook?

  3. In the 21st Century, the idea is to facilitate this. If you show them they can use energy-efficient charcoal cookers they will appreciate the reduction in charcoal burning because the market will be flooded with cheap charcoal. If you show them that they can get energy from Solar and facilitate some affordable, easy to use implements, they will reduce on their consumption of charcoal, the market will be flooded with cheap charcoal and the cutters will be out of work. That is how it works.

  4. The forestry department must up their act and solutions to alternative energy source must be affordable. Zesco is not a solution.

  5. Back in the day we had NCSZ in Chilanga abbreviation for National Science Board funded by the govt…they developed coal tablets for cooking as an alternative to Charcoal I mean we have an abandance reserves in Maamba…yes its not clean and renewable buit a far better alternative and it lasts longer.

  6. My dad is a forester and I have heard this story from babyhood during KKs time and Noone does anything about it. The police have only time and resources to arrest those breaking the presidential defamation act but no time to protect our natural resources. And we are watching them until Zambia becomes a desert. Our MPs are busy drinking at parly hotel as their country wilts

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