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Charcoal supply chains from Mabalane to Maputo: who benefits?

Charcoal is the main cooking energy source for people living in Maputo city. It is also a crucial source of income for rural producers in Mabalane district, a key supplier of Maputo’s charcoal. But Mabalane’s forests — which provide the wood for charcoal — also supply rural populations with construction materials, firewood and food. Our research shows that the lack of community management in Mabalane’s charcoal trade has disadvantaged communities, widening income inequality and causing ecological depletion. To reverse these trends, we recommend that policymakers strengthen community management institutions, install sustainable management practices, review existing licensing schemes and seek affordable alternative energy sources. This will help ensure the charcoal trade operates in an inclusive and sustainable way.

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