PRESS RELEASE – The Government of Saint Lucia through the Forests and Lands Resources Development Department is supporting the sustainable production of Charcoal, which continues to be extremely popular locally as a source of energy for food preparation.
In fact the new production method is already presenting numerous benefits for youth in the community of Errard on the east coast.
This new method involves the use of a kiln made of concrete rather than the traditional sand pits which are an inefficient, unhealthy and a dirtier process.
Acting Chief Forestry Officer Mr Adams Toussiant says the Sustainable Charcoal Production Project is in keeping with the Ministry’s strategic objectives of :
-The provision of reliable and affordable energy
-Demonstration of the value of the green economy and other related concepts to sustainable development,
-Enhanced application of science, technology and innovation
“We recognise that Charcoal production is one form of livelihood for many people around the island and we also recognise that the production of Charcoal is one of the drivers of deforestation.
The traditional production method is contributing a lot to the loss of Carbon making it inefficient, it is also a health hazard and generally an unclean process, so we have assessed the traditional method and we are now seeking to promote a more sustainable method of Charcoal production”.
The Sustainable Charcoal Production Project is designed to increase benefits to the many citizens who depend on the production of Charcoal to support the livelihoods, while reducing Saint Lucia’s very small carbon footprint.
The Acting Chief Forestry Officer says the new method has been proven to increase charcoal production by at-least thirty percent.
“Although the process is not complete in terms of having the capacity to harvest the smoke and fumes from the coals to produce other bi-products like wood vinegar and Charcoal paint but it is extremely efficient and you do not require water to extinguish the blaze.”
“We have compared the two methods and realised that prom this new sustainable process the production of Charcoal can increase by thirty percent when compared to the traditional method, so this is a pilot project that we are hoping to promote and encourage people around the island to utilise, it can be sustainable in many ways and environmentally clean”.
The new method is being piloted by the Saint Lucia Agriculture Forum for Youth which is seeking to make charcoal production more attractive to the youth as a sustainable and viable source of income.
In addition to the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology the Sustainable Charcoal Production Project is supported by the Small Grants Programme (SGP) of the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).