Stakeholders in the energy sector in Africa have been urged to devise effective strategies to ensure efficient and sustainable production and utilization of wood fuels on the continent.
Mrs Mercy Owusu Ansah, Executive Director of Tropenbos Ghana, who made the call, said collective efforts and proper deliberations were needed to promote sustainable production and efficient utilization of wood fuels, which were more accessible to many households and constituted about 70 per cent of energy needs of the people on the continent.
This, according to her, would enable the continent to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal seven (7), which focused on achieving affordable and clean energy for all by the year 2030.
Mrs Owusu Ansah, made the call at the opening of a three-day international conference on Sustainable Wood fuel Value Chain in Africa, in Kumasi.
The three-day conference was organized by the University of Copenhagen in partnership with Tropenbos Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Other organizers included the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Agroforestry, African Forest Policies and Politics (AFORPOLIS), Forest and Farm Facility, and International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO).
It aimed at promoting understanding and sharing of knowledge, good practices, and solutions among and between scholars, practitioners, private sector, and policy makers on sustainable and equitable wood fuel value chains and to advocate and explore strategies for their scaling-up.
The conference brought together policy makers, forest and farm producer organizations and associations, traditional authorities, the private sector organizations in the manufacturing of improved biomass and energy as well as cooking systems.
Mrs Owusu Ansah said increases in the population on the continent had increased demand for wood fuel such as charcoal, firewood, crop residues, and manure, which were the main staple forms of energy in many parts of Africa.
The conference would therefore focus on wood fuel production and use, environmental impacts and sustainable pathways, socio-economics of wood fuel value chain, resilience, trade, livelihoods, and health.
It would also focus on governance, policy, legislation, institutional mechanisms, and justice in the wood fuel sector to promote sustainable production and efficient use.
Mr Rodney Nkrumah Boateng, a representative from the Ministry of Energy, said the government of Ghana had introduced various projects and initiatives aimed at efficient and sustainable sources and the use of energy.
They included Rural Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Promotion Programme, National LPG Promotion Policy and Household Energy Programme.
Mr. Nkrumah Boateng said the Ministry was focused on expanding the adoption of market based cleaner cooking solutions and sustainable charcoal production and use.
The strategic policy, according to him, was to ensure effective regulation through sustainable production, marketing, and consumption of wood fuels.