Several surveys were conducted in Sri Lanka, in 11 Districts (Galle, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Kurunegala, Matale, Matara, Nuwara Eliya, Puttalam, Rathnapura) covering around 500 households. Findings show key information about the existing fuelwood demand and supply, availability and potential fuelwood supply increase.
As recent studies indicate, home gardens have become the main fuelwood collecting source followed by tree crop plantations. Households collect mainly twigs and branches for cooking purposes and a non-significant fraction of households collect fogs. This type of demand does not compromise the availability of fuelwood for industrial purposes as they prefer to use logs and big tranches. Consequently this suggests that an increase in industrial fuelwood demand may not affect negatively the availability of fuelwood for household use.
Rarely household sell their fuelwood collected. Among some of the reasons, collecting fuelwood for selling is perceived as a non-profitable economic activity as prices are still very low. Consequently, a large quantity of fuelwood is under-utilized. On the other hand, they have also doubts about growing fuelwood due to the lack of land availability, difficulties in accessing fuelwood and workers shortage. In terms of promoting fuelwood planting, according to these surveys, a great number of participants expressed their interest in growing fuelwood if there is an adequate demand. They have also reservations on dedicated fuelwood growing models. Findings suggest that fuelwood crops should be promoted along with other economic crops such as rubber, coconut, Gliricedia and cinnamon. By doing so, not only farmers will receive an additional income, but also it could encourage unemployed to enter the workforce.
Household producers in different districts are willing to engage in fuelwood growing if it is profitable. There are many barriers and issues that can curb the development of this energy production. It is necessary to have stable policies, not only to secure good governance of land use and availability, but also to build production capacities and markets. Increasing land productivity it would make more land available for future deployment of biomass. Greater awareness on future prices, marketing channels, growing models and benefits will certainly increase the confidence of household producers on price, market and profitability.