GIZ/EnDev together with partners from the Energy Efficient Production and Utilization of Charcoal (EEPUC) project has on Thursday 17th October, 2019 concluded a Charcoal Production and Utilization Mission with a presentation of findings from the mission to stakeholders in the energy sector. 

Energising Development Mano River Union supports the development of a market for Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) in order to target deforestation, global warming, environmental and health problems. The target group are not only households but also social institutions e.g. schools that provide school meals.

In addition, EnDev aims to support a more efficient charcoal production in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The project cooperates with its partners, the UNDP project “Energy Efficient Production and Utilization of Charcoal” (EEPUC), Westwind Energy and the Government Technical Institute, all based in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The desired output by EEPUC project for Sierra Leone is:  Implemented and operational 1,000 locally produced efficient kilns for the sustainable production of charcoal.

It is against this background that a consultant from ECO-Consult, Dr. Mike Timmerman was hired to conduct a study of the charcoal production and utilization process in Sierra Leone.  The charcoal mission started in early October and Dr. Timmerman was able to study the charcoal market and the charcoal production and utilization process.

Dr. Timmerman also visited  relevant stakeholders like the Ministry of Energy, EPA, NPAA, MAF, MIRO Forestry, NPAA, EFA and more to learn about the Energy situation in Sierra Leone.

The mission was climaxed by the presentation of the initial findings by the consultant. The workshop was held at the Family Kingdom Resort and draws participants from the relevant stakeholders in the sector.

The workshop staretd with introduction and welcome of participants followed by opening statement by GI/EnDev director Hartlieb Euler who emphasized the need for efficient charcoal production and the protection of the forests. He said that we have many alternative sources of food such as bread fruit and jack fruit but we only focus on rice and the method of upland farming is destroying the forests. He continued by saying that GIZ/EnDev is in the process of completing a video on deforestation. This video he said will be used to increase awareness about deforestation and it's impact on the environment. He encourage everyone to take the initiative and start planting trees while also encouraging others to do so.

Sharing his experiences from the Liberian perspective, Daniel Partee a GIZ/EnDev staff responsible for stoves in Liberia said that he learnt a lot from the mission. While stating that most of the processes of charcoal production in Sierra Leine and Lberia are the similar, he saw other people producing charcoal using different methods. 

Presenting his findings, Dr. Timmerman emphasized that his presentation was only a draft and the actual figures will be available when he submits his report final report. He presented his main recommendations (short term and long term) and some conclusions. See below

Long Term Recommendations

  • Improved forest management and control
  • Improve the slash and burn agriculture
    • Introduce Acacia inorder to
      • Reduce the rotation time from 7-8 years to 5 years
      • Increase the wood productivity (Acacia produces 17DMI/HA* year in Sierra Leone)
      • Improve the soil quality and agricultural yields (Acacia acts as fertilizer by fixing the air Nitrogen in soil)
  • Set up a legal, sustainable and certified "Green Charcoal Value Chain to supply Freetown
    • Contro wood origin
      • Plantations
      • Sustainably managed forests
      • Sawmill residues
    • Improve carbonization kilns
      • High yields and low methane emissions
      • Low impact on the environment

Short Term Recommendations

  • Support a pilot community managed GMDR in a village located in the MIRO plantations
  • Pilot project on Acacia implementation in the Slash and Burn agriculture

Main Conclusions

  1. Wood energy is everywhere in Sierra Leone
  2. The volume processed is industrial process even if the sector may appear to traditional
  3. Wood energy is a by product of deforestation and not its main cause. Other causes he said are
    Slash and Burn agriculture
    Deforestation for agricultural plantation (cocoa, palm trees)
  4. Forest harvesting for logs
  5. Foreest management should be improved inorder to reach a better control on illegal forest exploitation for agriculture, wood or energy
  6. Charcoal is produced by basic techniques (earth mould kilns) and the skills of charcoal makers could be improved, the estimated mass yield for carbonization in Sierra leoone is 18%
  7. Improve techniques should be used

The workshop conclude with questions and answers with inputs from others stakeholders such as MIRO, UNDP, EPA and NPAA.