This project is developing new sites for eco-charcoal production via tooling and training programs across Southern Chad in an effort to address a serious energy crisis in Chadian cities and mitigate the deforestation accompanying it. This alternative charcoal is produced from rice-straw and generates new sources of income for rice farmers while reducing the number of trees being cut down.
The only source of fuel for 99% of households in Chad is raw wood or charcoal. Chad has lost 1.6 million hectares of forest in the past 20 years. Wood charcoal has been banned by the government without offering any viable alternatives. Charcoal continues to be the main source of energy despite the ban, especially in urban areas where energy demands are highest. The ban on charcoal has raised prices and led to a sharp increase in raw wood harvest instead.
Rice cultivators in the village of Nya will be equipped and trained to carbonize rice-straw and transform it into charcoal briquettes. These briquettes burn as efficiently as wood charcoal. Eco-charcoal is a legal and alternative fuel in high demand. Farmers systematically burn all their straw after the rice harvest causing air pollution and losing resources that could be used as fuel. This project will provide additional income to farmers who struggle on a single rice harvest.
Each bag of eco-charcoal sold is the life of a tree spared. Each bag of eco-charcoal sold is extra income for rice cultivators. When rice-straw is carbonized, air pollution is significantly reduced. Much of the eco-charcoal produced and sold will be taken to the largest urban areas in Chad (Doba, Moundou, and N'Djamena) providing sustainable relief to the current energy crisis. The site targeted in Nya alone has the potential to provide the energy needs for 10,000 families for a year.