Without stepped-up action, deforestation continues

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Despite charcoal selling being illegal in Malawi, the trade is still applied in the country with forests being under threat of being degraded.

Though government through the police and forestry officials confiscates charcoal to curb charcoal trade, the forbidden commodity is still on the market at a time the country is facing electricity challenges.

Forests degraded

Director of Forestry Department Clement Chilima is reported to have said that forest guards confiscate charcoal at roadblocks “out of desperation to kill the market or reduce demand”.

But Blantyre District Forest Officer Geoffrey Kanyerere disclosed that most of the charcoal that is being used in the commercial city comes from Neno district, some kilometers away from the city.

Kanyerere told Malawi24 that most of the forests in the city have now been depleted hence the importation from Neno.

However, the road from Neno to Blantyre has several roadblocks that could have easily “killed the market” of charcoal in Blantyre as disclosed by Chilima with officers confiscating the illegal commodity.

Chilima says forest guards confiscate charcoal at roadblocks out of desperation.

Environmental stakeholders however feels confiscating charcoal “counts for nothing” in fight against charcoal trade in the country.

Kanyerere disclosed that the fight in charcoal trade could be lost if stiff actions are not employed to curb the sale of charcoal.

“We really wish if we had Malawi Defence Force officers to help in this fight. We once used them and we noted a big change but the cost is just too much for such operation to be sustained,” said Kanyerere.

As it stands the authorities need to rethink and improvise actions that are to win the battle against charcoal trade in Malawi.

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