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Mozambique: charcoal sellers on bicycles pay the price of deforestation

A charcoal vendor in Mozambique, March, 2019.   -  
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Themba Hadebe/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved


A considerable part of the Mozambique population relies on charcoal. And while the world's largest economies distrubute it on an industrial scale, there it is done by bicycle. Vendors have to cover several hundred kilometres a week and the distance is increasing. "There are no trees around here anymore. That's why people are going far away, to cut down trees and have charcoal. We've had a bad year, we're having a hard time with this business and that money is important for us." says_Alexandre Artur a charcoal seller.

Coal consumption represents a global problem, but also a local one, with the deforestation it causes. But according to Eugenio Fumae, the blame, does not lie with the sellers. "They have it as a source of survival but who is putting pressure on the charcoal burners is us, who are living in the city. We are the ones who need and consume coal. That product comes to the city.", explains the environmentalist.

Eugénio adds the solution involves sustainable reforestation actions, encouraging the use of gas and reducing the cost of electricity. Until this happens, distribution on foot will benefit both parts of the business. Each bag is sold for the equivalent of just over three euros.

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