Charcoal is part of our lives, says Malawi Government


Government says it knows that a majority Malawians rely on firewood and charcoal for cooking but it has introduced tough punishments for charcoal possession to eliminate the availability of illegal charcoal.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change said this in a statement yesterday signed by Principal Secretary Yanira Ntupanyama.

Ntupanyama noted that there has been social media anger over the implementation of the Forestry Amendment Act (2020) due to harsh penalties in the act with those found with charcoal facing 10 years in jail or K5 million fine.

Malawians have also expressed concern over lack of alternatives for charcoal considering that electricity is not reliable while Liquefied Petroleum Gas is expensive.

However, Ntupanyama said government is aware that Malawians in rural and urban rely on charcoal and firewood for cooking hence it has put in place strategies to ensure that charcoal remains part of the energy mix.

According to Ntupanyama, the alternatives include licenced charcoal, briquettes and sustainable charcoal pellets.

“Government continues to provide conducive private sector investment in the development of alternative sources through establishment of various funding channels like the Malawi Cooking Fund under the modern cooking for health forests project.

“These alternatives cannot pick up if the market is flooded with illegal charcoal. The forestry act aims at eliminating the availability of illegal charcoal, which continues to erode this country of its precious natural resources and slowly turning the country into a desert,” Ntupanyama said.

On concerns that the punishment for charcoal possession is harsh, Ntupanyama said there are sentencing guidelines which prescribe minimum fines and penalties for consideration by courts.

She, however, urged Malawians to respect the law and desist from producing, trafficking, possessing and buying illegal charcoal.

The new Forestry Act was passed by Parliament in February, 2020 and it was assented it into law on 11 June, 2020. The Ministry started implementing the act in November, 2020.

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One comment on “Charcoal is part of our lives, says Malawi Government

  1. Absolutely charcoal is part of life to most people in Malawi especially in rural areas as part of rules of engagement unless government should find alternative of domestic gas cooking at cheaper price

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