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Wood Energy and Employment

Although a large proportion of the woodfuels is gathered by the users themselves, the woodfuel trade is also important, particularly for urban areas and for industrial consumption.

The figures given in the table below for the woodfuels are probably based on large(r) scale operations only--evidence from rapid rural appraisals suggests that small-scale producers in rural areas collect 20-80 kg. per day. Transporting and retailing this amount may take another day, depending on area, means of transport and distance to the market. Using these average figures for small-scale rural producers, the employment figure for woodfuels is probably 10 times higher than shown in the table.

Estimated employment by fuel type
  Fuel Type Amount of Fuel per
Terajoule (TJ)
Employment per TJ
Energy in Person Days
  Kerosene2 29 kilolitre 10  
  LPG2 22 Tons 10-20  
  Coal3 43 Tons 20-40  
  Electricity4 228 MWh 80-110  
  Fuelwood5 62 Tons 110-170  
  Charcoal5 33 Tons 200-350  
Source: World Bank/ESMAP, 1991


1) Where applicable, employment covers growing, extraction, production, transmission, maintenance, distribution and sales, including reading meters. It excludes employment generated outside the country for fuels that are imported in semi-finished or finished state.

2) This assumes that crude oil (for refining), kerosene and LPG are imported.

3) Varying according to capital intensity of the mine, seam thickness, energy value of the coal as well as the distance from demand centres.

4) Varies according to production method ranging from hydro to traditional oil/coal fired units and the efficiency of electricity generation, transmission and distribution.

5) Depending on the productivity of the site, efficiency of producers and distance from the market.

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© FAO-RWEDP, 1999