Lack of alternatives to firewood and charcoal is halting efforts aimed at addressing deforestation in the country.
The charcoal trade is said to be fueling deforestation.
The news follows a continued debate on a link between urban demand for charcoal and depletion of forests in Malawi participated by charcoal vendors and environmental conservation stakeholders.
According to Isaac Kaluzi, a charcoal trader, it is difficult for Malawi to switch from charcoal to other renewable energy sources like biogas and solar as the sources are expensive for ordinary Malawians.
However, the director of Energy in the Ministry of Energy Cassius Chwambo says the Ministry is making progress to ensure that there is universal electricity for all Malawians by 2030.
In the meantime, the country’s forests will continue to face a massive plunder of its trees unless the goal of achieving universal electricity for every citizen is attained by 2030.
Currently, about 97% households in Malawi rely on firewood or charcoal as their primary source of energy for cooking and heating. This is according to a 2017 -2027 National Charcoal Strategy.