Hundreds of Farmers become Charcoal Producers in South Madagascar due to Drought
This charcoal production boom could affect-the new protected area PK-32 Ranobe near Toliara and be a serious threat to its unique biodiversity. This protected area, which is co-managed by WWF and an inter-communal association, received temporary protection status in December 2008.
“Charcoal production in the South of
WWF agents have investigated the amount of charcoal on the main road North of Toliara. They assessed how many people are currently trying to make a living by producing charcoal. Proportions look similar in most villages. The number of so called “charbonniers” has almost tripled since the beginning of the rainy season in December.
A year ago, four trucks, each carrying a maximum of 250 bags, were doing the journey twice a week on this road. Today WWF agents count every day eight trucks carrying 400 bags each time.
“Whole charcoal villages just seem to spring up like mushrooms out of nothing,” says Rasolonandrasana “and other rural communities start a charcoal business although they have never been active in it. Some people even start cutting fruit trees because the forest was already losing ground.”
“Every village has a Tamarind tree in the middle of
While a heavy drought forces people to look for alternative livelihoods, commercial interests in charcoal increases. At least two big companies have shown interest to start exporting charcoal to the French island of La Réunion, Comoros and Mayotte.
Nanie Ratsifandrihamana, Conservation Director for WWF
She adds that a few years ago the control of the charcoal production through forest administration has led to a rise in prices in Toliara and caused riots in the city. The forest administration had then decided to open charcoal production to everybody to calm the riots.
WWF’s Regional Representative in
WWF’s Footprint program in
She says “We work with local communities and show them a new technique, so that they can produce same amount of charcoal with much less wood. We encourage and help them to plant trees as source of income in the mid and long term. And last but not least, we are working with different stakeholders to make sure fuel wood chain of custody is sustainably managed on every level. ”
Thanks to tireless efforts by WWF, a first step has been done by the Head of the Southwestern Region. He recently published an order regulating the chain of custody for fuel wood in the Atsimo Andrefana (Southwestern) Region. Together with different stakeholders unified in a regional energy forest commission, WWF will make sure the order is enforced.
Voahirana Randriambola says “This is a sign of hope and a step into the right direction. But we call on national authorities to get a grip on the situation at a national level. We are willing to share the experience of the Southwestern Region for a better understanding of wood energy issue in the whole country. It is clear that the development and implementation of policy, strategy and clear national regulations on this chain of custody is more than necessary in the light of increasing problems and the importance of charcoal in daily households.”