Formalisation of charcoal value chains and livelihood outcomes in Central and West Africa


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Charcoal is a major source of household energy in Sub-Saharan Africa (for an estimated 93% of rural households and 58% of urban households). Urbanisation and an increased demand for charcoal are expected to put pressure on peri-urban tree sources, but charcoal could be a renewable fuel. This presentation discusses options for formalising charcoal production and woodfuel management as a way of making the process more sustainable – the aim of formalisation to date has primarily been to manage and control economically valuable resources rather than to improve livelihoods.

CIFOR associate Jolien Schure gave this presentation at a session titled ‘From the forest and further: forest product value chains’ at the 13th Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology, held on 20-25 May 2012 in Montpellier, France.

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Formalisation of charcoal value chains and livelihood outcomes in Central and West Africa

  1. 1. Formalisation of charcoal valuechains and livelihood outcomes inCentral and West AfricaJolien Schure, Verina Ingram, Maam Suwadu Sakho-Jimbira, Patrice Levang, K. Freerk Wiersum THINKING beyond the canopy THINKING beyond the canopy
  2. 2. Objective“To examine the link between formalisation ofcharcoal institutions and livelihood outcomesfor actors involved in woodfuel value chains inCentral and West African countries” THINKING beyond the canopy
  3. 3. Approach• Combining: Institutional studies, value chain analysis and livelihoods approach.• Charcoal institutions: The formal and informal regularised patterns of behaviour between different actors in society that shape access, rights and obligations related to charcoal production and trade. THINKING beyond the canopy
  4. 4. Formalisation (of charcoal institutions)  Avoid costs of penalties and bribes Promote corruptionDecrease dependence of harvesters Marginalise harvestersMitigate negative environmental Obstruct effective customary lawsoutcomesWoodfuel part of urban, environmental, Criminalise extraction practicesforestry, energy planning THINKING beyond the canopy
  5. 5. Assumptions1. Formalisation is likely to advance primarily urban actors further along the chain.2. In countries with formalised charcoal institutions rural actors gain more benefits than in countries with informal institutions. THINKING beyond the canopy
  6. 6. Concepts Variable IndicatorFormalisation 1. Existence of written rules and policies dealing with charcoal value chains 2. Degree to which penalties for rule violations are clearly stipulated and enforced 3. Ease and accessibility of formalisingSocio-economic benefits to 4. Number of actors involved in charcoal sectorvalue chain actors 5. Net revenues gained from charcoal production or trade 6. Extent and equity of benefit distribution among actorsInspired by: Hall and Haas, 1967; Helmke and Levitsky, 2004; Belcher, 2005; Ribot, 1998; Kappel andIshengoma, 2006. THINKING beyond the canopy
  7. 7. Figure 2: Selected urban centres for study on formalisation of charcoal institutions THINKING beyond the canopy
  8. 8. Results (1): Formalisation of charcoal institutionsCentral Africa West AfricaWoodfuel policies exist related to forest Woodfuel policies exist, related to forest,and environment but are largely not environment and energy policy, butimplemented (<3% of charcoal under Implementation is low (<13% charcoalpermit) under permit)Sector is informal BUT organised Participatory forest management.according to local rules of access. Differentiated tax incentives. Free riders behaviour.Unfavourable business environment. Unfavourable business environment. Importance of political connections even after entering formal system. THINKING beyond the canopy
  9. 9. Results (2): Socio-economic benefits to actorsCentral Africa West Africa>22,000 - >324,000 actors involved per 13,500 - >50,000 actors involved per citycityLarge part of household income Large part of household incomeproducers e.g. 75% charcoal producers producers e.g. 83% charcoal producersKinshasa OuagadougouRelatively equal distribution Unequal distribution with wholesalers and transporters making greatest profits THINKING beyond the canopy
  10. 10. Conclusion (1)• Positive examples: dedicated forest management areas with participatory approach in West Africa, reinvestment of taxes in social and environmental projects, rural woodfuel markets with differentiated tax incentives in Mali and Niger• Negative unintended outcomes of formalisation: conflicts over tax revenues, difficulties monitoring and permitting trade, free riders, rich or powerful urban actors dominating access to permit system, corruption ‘informal’ taxes deeply embedded, discrepancy between receipts of revenues from taxes and reinvestments in woodfuel resources and communities. THINKING beyond the canopy
  11. 11. Conclusion (2)• Formalisation advances actors further along the value chain and can have adverse socio-economic impacts for rural charcoal producers.• Countries with more formalised charcoal institutions, such as those in West Africa have systems in place to distribute benefits to rural actors. However, the implementation of this and actual benefits for these rural citizens remain low. THINKING beyond the canopy
  12. 12. Thank you !• Website:• Jolien Schure ( THINKING beyond the canopy