Woodfuel, particularly charcoal, is an important livelihood source in Kitui County, with consumption largely in urban areas within and beyond the county, where it is still a critical energy source.
While charcoal movement out of the county has been banned since 2018, trade has continued in some form because of inadequate support, guidance and regulation.
While briquette production has been promoted, it has not seen substantial demand.
Because charcoal production has continued, a sustainable charcoal value chain in Kitui County has to be explored, including i) management of woodlands and sustainable harvesting of trees, e.g. through natural regeneration and enrichment planting of trees on degraded private and public lands; ii) promotion of efficient processing and carbonization; and iii) efficient and clean cooking.
Current institutional arrangements for guiding, supporting and controlling the value chain activities and actors can be improved to enhance the sustainability, enforcement, compliance, capacity and competitiveness of local value chains.
World Agroforestry (ICRAF), Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) and partners undertook a number of activities in Kitui County and more widely in Kenya as a whole to generate evidence, knowledge and policy options, and to facilitate engagement for more sustainable woodfuel value chains under the project entitled Governing Multifunctional Landscapes (GML) in sub-Saharan Africa launched in 2018. This brief summarises the key interventions and learnings from the project with particular focus on Kitui County.