The Green Charcoal Project - Addressing Barriers to Adoption of Improved Charcoal Production Technologies and Sustainable Land Management Practices through an Integrated Approach

What is the project about?

 An improved casamance kiln such as the one shown above reduces the amount of wood used and yet ensures good quality charcoal is produced. It's also safer than the traditional charcoal burning methods. (Photo Credit: UNDP Uganda 2014)

The entire charcoal value chain in Uganda is characterised with inefficient systems that lead to degradation of forests and a high level of biomass loss, which means that despite cutting down a lot of trees to make charcoal, the amounts made are still too little to satisfy the market needs.

Various attempts have been made by government and various partners to improve the methods of getting such biomass fuel, however, these are hindered by negative perception towards new improved charcoal technologies among communities where biomass production is common.

To counter this, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Green Charcoal project is working with both the Ministry of Energy and the local communities to promote more efficient technologies that enable them to save the environment while still earning from biomass fuels.

These technologies include the use of Retort and Casamance Kilns which are not only environmentally friendly but are compatible with the expectations of the communities. This is because they generate good quality charcoal using less wood enabling the benefitting communities to earn more while cutting down less trees.

The project also promotes the growing of woodlots so that beneficiaries are able to cut their own trees and save the naturally occurring forests and where these have been reduced, re-planting exercises are being encouraged.

The project is implemented in the four districts of Kiboga, Kiryandongo, Mubende and Nakaseke.

Project Goals

The main goal of the Green Charcoal Project is to develop and promote improved charcoal production technologies and sustainable land management practices through an integrated approach.

The project is implemented under three major components:

  • Data collection, improved coordination and enforcement of regulations governing the biomass energy sector in particular those related to sustainable charcoal production;
  • Dissemination of appropriate technologies for sustainable charcoal production in the project’s four selected  charcoal-producing districts;
  • Strengthening the capacity of key stakeholders in Sustainable Forest Management and Sustainable Land Management best practices and establishment of sustainable woodlots.

Implementing Partners

The project is implemented by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment, National Forestry Authority, Nyabyeya Forestry College and the four districts of Kiboga, Kiryandongo, Mubende and Nakaseke.

Accomplishments so far;

The implementation of the project started in October 2014 and the following have been accomplished during the first year of implementation;

  • Supported the development and implementation of the National Biomass Energy Strategy (NBEST) for Uganda.
  • Created awareness about threats from traditional charcoal production methods and influenced attitude change towards adoption of improved charcoal production technologies among different stakeholders. This has contributed to reduction on the amount of wood used for charcoal production.
  • Built capacity of charcoal producing associations, supported women and youth entrepreneurs in production and marketing of briquettes. As a result, Small and Medium Enterprises dealing in charcoal have been formed.
  • Trained 500 community members, supported them to plant close to 1 million trees for sustainable charcoal feedstock.

Who finances it?

The project is funded by the Global Environmental Fund through UNDP. The total GEF grant for the four years is USD $3.48 Million. It is co-financed to a tune of $14.6 million by FAO, UNCDF, GIZ, BTC and the Government of Uganda.

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