Prosopis juliflora – a potential game changer in the charcoal sector in Kenya
Woodfuel remains the major energy source for cooking and heating for more than 60 percent of people in Kenya (MoE and CCAK, 2019). Though charcoal and firewood are renewable forms of energy, their unsustainable production and inefficient utilization pose environmental and health challenges (FAO, 2017a). For instance, in Kenya about 40 percent of the woodfuel is sourced unsustainably and over 90 percent of charcoal is produced using traditional kilns with low conversion rates ranging between 10 and 15 percent (Drigo et al., 2015: MoE and CCAK 2019). The carbon footprint of unsustainably produced charcoal along its whole life cycle is 6-9 kgCO2eq, which has climate change consequences (FAO, 2017b). Thus, there is an urgent need to seek sustainable sourcing solutions, which include management and utilisation of invasive species like Prosopis juliflora.