Cuba's Las Tunas exporting charcoal
With sales to European countries in excess of 150,000 tons of charcoal this year, the eastern Cuban province of Las Tunas has contributed to a national effort aimed at raising the export of this product.
Charcoal is mostly made here from sickle bush (Dichrostachys cinerea), a plant that farmers consider to be an obnoxious shrub, because of its invasive propagation in farmlands.
In addition to being used as a domestic fuel, it is also employed for grilling meat and in the industrial production of certain dishes such as pizzas, particularly in Italy and Spain.
The local production of charcoal is also destined for the national market with some 100,000 sacks expected to be turned out by the end of the year.
The targets for 2007 have been estimated at 400,000 tons for export and 150,000 sacks for local consumption.
The production of this renewable fuel is very important for the island, as it is both a source of hard currency and helps to conserve fossil fuels.