Charcoal production and trade in southern Mozambique: historical trends and present scenarios

  • Proceedings of Symposia
  • Oct, 2015

Luz, A.C., Baumert, S., Fisher, J., Grundy, I., Matediane, M., Patenaude, G., Ribeiro, N., Ryan, C., Vollmer, F., Woollen, E. & Zorrilla, P. (2015) Charcoal production and trade in southern Mozambique: historical trends and present scenarios. Proceeding of the XIV World Forestry Congress, Durban, South Africa. DOI:10.13140/RG.2.1.1677.8729

NON-cE3c affiliated

Charcoal production can lead to changes in ecosystem services provision and forest degradation while also significantly contributing to rural income and poverty alleviation. In urban centres of Mozambique, charcoal is the major energy source for cooking. Growing demand drives high wood extraction rates over increasing areas of forest. As such, understanding charcoal production and trade has important implications for rural areas and the sustainable development of the forest sector. Here, we investigate this through empirical research conducted in Gaza Province, the main supply area for Maputo, Mozambique. We analyse both 1) the present structure of the main charcoal supply chains to Maputo; and 2) charcoal volume licensing trends since 2009. We relied on official licensing records for four districts supplied by the Agricultural Provincial Directorate (DPA) of Gaza province. We also conducted fieldwork, from May to October 2014, in 11 villages in Mabalane district, Gaza, comprising semi-structured interviews with key informants (charcoal producers, licence holders, wholesalers, truck drivers, and forest technicians). Our results highlight the following: firstly, charcoal production in Gaza constantly moves away from the urban centres, towards more peripheral areas of mopane woodland. In Massingir district (the nearest to Maputo in our sample), charcoal production was entirely banned in 2013 due to forest degradation. Mabalane (intermediate) has the largest number of licences and highest charcoal production. In Chicualacuala (furthest), production was comparatively lower. Secondly, two types of supply chain emerge: 1) small-scale local village production and sale to wholesalers and 2) large-scale production and commercialisation by outsiders. Thirdly, while charcoal production constitutes an important income source for rural families in Mabalane, under supply chain 2) most monetary benefits do not reach local communities and remain with the large-scale producers.