Charcoal consumption is increasing faster than urbanization, with over 80% of the urban population dependent on it. The sector’s estimated value is equivalent to that of the tea industry, and it supports the livelihoods of over 2 million people in the country.

The authors examine the policy environment for charcoal production and trade in Kenya, the institutions involved, and problems, including corruption. They also map out the geography of charcoal production and use, and the technologies used (mostly inefficient earth kilns that waste 85-91% of biomass).

Finally, the authors lay out options for making the sector more sustainable. This will require promoting efficient charcoal production and consumption technologies together with an enabling policy framework. Measures include promoting further R&D, setting up a cross-sectoral policy forum; simplifying the license/permit systems, harmonizing regulations, and developing a national communication strategy.

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