The citizenry is being inspired to check further depletion of forests by discarding charcoal and firewood as major sources of energy for cooking and to instead embrace various other technologies.
The plea comes amid plans by the government to restore 95,000 forests and landscapes nationwide through the World Bank-funded Malawi Watershed Improvement Services Project (MWASIP).
In 2017, the authorities developed a seven-pillar charcoal strategy that tackles the need to upscale provision of alternative sources of energy such as briquettes from biomass waste as well as LPG and electricity.
Official statistics indicate that 95 percent of Malawians continue using firewood and charcoal for cooking.
Director of forestry Stella Gama stressed that: “Now that the electricity is stable, we no longer experience prolonged blackouts and people can use it for cooking. There is also an alternative of gas and briquets.”
She further disclosed that government is working with various stakeholders, among them ministry of energy to scale up provision of alternative sources of energy which include production of briquets from biomass waste, provision of liquified petroleum gas and electricity.
“We understand that the demand for charcoal and firewood will always be there due to our economic status because not everyone can afford electricity and gas. We are therefore trying to regulate sustainable charcoal so that people can manage plantations and produce charcoal,’’ added Gama.
According to the department of forestry, currently, 95 percent of Malawians use firewood and charcoal for cooking.