Eco-Charcoal is a premium quality product which burns longer and generates important co-benefits for both communities/producers and forest conservation. It is the only product of such kind in Zambia and currently marketed to hospitality industry and individuals.
Sizes/Packaging: Eco-Charcoal is available in multiple sizes to suit individual customer needs.
- 10 kg & 25 kg - suitable for individual home use
- 50+ kg - suitable for commercial use especially in hospitality sector (restaurants, kitchens, lodges, hotels)
Quality: Charcoal quality, measure namely in its burning properties, is largely dependent on how the charcoal is produced. Eco-Charcoal is produced in improved kilns (link) which both are more efficient and produce charcoal with loner burning properties.
Charcoal-making involves "carbonization" process, during which wood transforms into charcoal. Traditional kilns (from which most other charcoal is sourced) typically operate at higher temperatures and often are subject to kiln burns, resulting in charcoal which does not retain its desired properties.
Eco-Charcoal Zambia utilizes higher-efficiency Casamance kilns that control temperature and produce more charcoal (efficiency of about 20% compared to 8%-10% for traditional kilns), reducing the number of trees that must be cut to produce certain amounts of charcoal. The improved kilns have two distinct features compared to the traditional kiln: radial arrangement of wood fuel and chimney. Radial arrangement of woodfuel allows for a higher efficiency carbonization process. The function of the chimney is to regulate kiln temperature for optimum efficiency and charcoal quality as well as removing volatile exhausts byproducts from the carbonization process.
Product Co-Benefits: In addition to quality which is never compromised, through its approach it assures significant conservation and livelihood co-benefits. In short, we believe that any charcoal production shall follow such rigorous methods to assure adequate income for producers and long-term sound land and forest management.
Forest in Rufunsa District is the last remaining large tract of forest in Lusaka Province, yet it is currently indiscriminately being cut primarily for charcoal production to meet the needs of Lusaka population. In Zambia, deforestation is a large and growing problem. Zambia is one of the highest forested countries in Africa. However, it also faces one of the highest deforestation amounts per year, with an estimated 250-300,000 hectares of forest being cleared each year.
Eco Charcoal Zambia, within the context of larger conservation effort, has introduced suite of conservation interventions centered on sound land management to protect the remaining forest in the area. Sustainable Harvesting System (link) assures that the demarcated land is harvested on a rotational basis allowing proper forest regeneration, and no further activities (agriculture etc.) take place in the forest. Following this system, the charcoal can be produced long term without any negative effects and will not result in deforestation.
Eco Charcoal Zambia is social enterprise which shares its income with producers and communities involved in the production. Currently, 70% of households in the project area depend on charcoal production as a source of income, although they receive only a low share of the potential income from this trade. Eco Charcoal Zambia involves existing charcoal producers and pays 20% to 25% premium prices to them for the production following eco charcoal methods. Youth and women are also involved in the project. The premium payments are performance based, following regular monitoring of production and conservation targets. In addition, communities receive further dividends to recognize communal ownership of the forests devoted to production.