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close this book Application of biomass-energy technologies
close this folder II. Improved charcoal production
View the document A. Introduction
View the document B. The Malawi Charcoal Project
View the document C. Charcoal markets
View the document D. Constraints
View the document E. Policy environment and role of the Government
View the document F. Role of entrepreneurs and informal-sector artisans
View the document G. Local research initiatives and indigenous technical skills
View the document H. Role of non-governmental organizations
View the document I. Role of end-users
View the document J. External financial support and local credit and banking institutions

F. Role of entrepreneurs and informal-sector artisans

By mid-1989, the Project had successfully contracted out 3000 tons of capacity per year to the private sector but a balance of 6500 tons per year was still with the Government. Although this was an encouraging development, the Project could have realized a higher level of success if the involvement of the private sector had been considered right from the initiation of the project.

Involvement of local entrepreneurs increases the chances of long-term sustainability and makes use of the limited pool of local capital. The Project underestimated the complexity and difficulty of involving local enterprises and left it until late in the Project. Early involvement of the private sector would have served to raise early interest and provided a convenient avenue for informing the local sector of the potential and opportunities that the production and marketing of softwood charcoal provided. Early involvement of local entrepreneurs and informal-sector artisans would have averted the Project's ill-fated attempt to set up an independent charcoal marketing channel that involved SEDOM entrepreneurs many of whom are retired civil servants long-accustomed to Government subsidies.

The Project has, however, demonstrated the viability of undertaking productive conversion of the substantial wood waste generated by wood industries and could be replicated in many developing countries having similar wood waste.