Région de la basse Guinée - Africa

Producing salt without burning wood in Rio Pongo

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Why burn wood when the sun is enough for drying? this is the call launched by the members of the Guinean network of humid areas to the population to urge them to change their habits.

In the mangrove area, an NGO warned of the alarmingly rapid deforestation due to salt production. This activity, often practiced as a source of additional revenue, enables a large number of families to survive.

The problem lies in the fact that extracting salt from brines- obtained through filtering saline lands, is done traditionally via the use of fire and consequently the use of combustible material. In order to have 1kg of salt for example, 3.14 kg of wood needs to be burned.

Producing Salt at What Cost ?

Located in the lower Guinea region, Rio Pongo (a humid area listed by RAMSAR) is known for its large potential in terms of the production of salt, rice and firewood. The majority of the population in the region lives on these activities. Some come from afar during the dry season in order to produce salt then they leave. But, the environmental cost is very high. Every year, more than 4% of the mangrove surface disappears because of these activities.

In light of this situation, the Guinean network of humid areas launched an initiative to set up rules for sustainable management, in cooperation with other stakeholders. Based on new environment-friendly methods, the NGO found the means to curb wood cutting without proceeding to a ban of salt production.

The Sun replaces Fire

The NGO started by conducting crystallisation tests using solar rays with 100 litres of brine. The results showed a productivity ranging from 1.5 kg to 2kg per square meter. This exceeds largely the average production reached through the wood burning process.

Since then RZGUIZOH led actions aiming at encouraging the active participation of women in the promotion of solar salt. Three women groups were officially formed and recognized. After several trainings and awareness-raising campaigns, more than 135 tonnes of solar salt was produced in a way that helped save 170 hectares of mangrove forests.

The method is not only environmentally sustainable, but also productive and less arduous. Women who are now using solar rays have boosted their earnings by more than 70% compared to when they relied on burning wood. Since then, the change towards solar salt is spreading like a wildfire.


Mariama Sylla

Executive Director of the project


Préfecture de Boffa

Région de la basse Guinée,



The traditional method consists in heating brine using metal cooking trays. It requires 3.1 kg of wood to produce 1kg of salt. The solar method will help preserve the vegetarian cover of the mangrove, an environment with rich biodiversity.



Source : Guineeconakry.info



The high commissioner for water, forests and the fight against diversification in collaboration with the model forest association in Ifrane, implemented an ambitious programme to distribute ovens that are improved with less fuel wood consumption and can be used for an array of purposes (cooking bread and meals, heating water…)





Source : Oujdacity.net



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