Charcoal producers begin massive reforestation to mitigate depletion of forests
Earns $73.2 million annually from exports
The National Charcoal Producers, Dealers and Exporters Association of Nigeria, (NACPDEAN), has announced that it is embarking on a massive reforestation project to ensure that the nation’s forests are well conserved and not depleted due to tree felling and other human activities.
President of the association, Edu Babatunde, made this known during the national elections and adoption of national working constitution of the group at the weekend in Abuja.
He said the association has engaged the services agronomist and has mapped out plans that will enable it achieve success within a good period of time as it hopes to work with the government it procuring improve varieties of both economic trees and others that can grow to provide enough forest cover in a few years.
Babatunde who emerged national President of the body during an election at the weekend, wasted no time in declaring that the efforts of NACPDEAN at protecting the forest is to also mitigate climate change and boost the economy through the production and export of quality charcoal.
“The reason why the government earlier put a ban on charcoal is because there was no massive afforestation to sustain the business but we are going into serious afforestation where we are not just going to plant the trees and leave them to die, but nurture them and also plant tree crops. This will create more empowerment and employment because without forest cover, we cannot sustain our businesses,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria is currently ranked second in in global charcoal production and first in Africa earning up to $73.2 million from exports yearly while Brazil takes the lead with 6.3 million tone.
He said that the outbreak of the global pandemic, COVID-19, and the ban placed on charcoal business by the federal government in May this year, has crippled most charcoal businesses in the country.
Chairman, electoral committee of the association, Lawan Ali, said Russia has now become the largest market for Nigerian charcoal as it imports the product for a number of purposes such as heat generation and the production of medicine that is used to detoxify the liver, further creating a huge market demand for wood charcoal.
Ali said “Russia is a very cold country so they use our charcoal to generate heat that will keep their environment warm. Also according to some of them, if you are taking the charcoal tablet according to the prescription of their physicians, you won’t have toxins in the kidney and to my surprise almost all the Russians I met when I traveled to the country, have been taking the tablet.
I know that some people are exporting our charcoal to Russia and the Russians are very big consumers of charcoal so the market opportunities are huge for Nigerian so I am urging charcoal exporters to explore the market as we make effort to partner with the Russian embassy here.”
“I want to assure you that Russia is a very big market for Nigerian charcoal. When I told them we have charcoal, they said that yes we already know and we are using Nigerian charcoal and they are using it to make tablets but what I don’t know is whether there is addition of something else to the charcoal tablet,” he adds.
Mr. Kingsley Amadi, Secretary of the group, also noted that as businessmen involved in the exportation marketing and production of charcoal, “our major focus now will also be about afforestation so we are just about felling trees for biomass energy but also on tree planting. We want to be the national body to champion afforestation in Nigeria.”