“The idea of grass charcoal had never crossed my mind!” exclaims Mary Tiekor, Handi Women’s Group member and charcoal producer, as she holds a freshly made organic briquette in her hands. “And yet, here it is – and the process is so quick!”
Like Mary, over six million people in Ghana’s savannah ecological zone depend on wood fuel and tree charcoal for daily use, and this represents just a fraction of the more than 2.4 billion people worldwide that rely on firewood and charcoal for cooking, energy and income.
Unsustainable practices in charcoal production have led to deforestation and degradation of the country’s environment and continue to do so. These environmental challenges are compounded by Ghana’s severe dry season, during which the abundant savannah grass often fuels the characteristic wildfires of those months. The fires can decimate crops and consequently threaten food security.
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