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Meeting the nation’s need nowadays in the context of increasing demand without compromising our environment and future generations is very challenging. Development of industrialization for well over a century has affected some areas which include energy, biomass, agriculture and social issues.

It is estimated 90% of total energy demand will increase and 70% of economic output will occur in developing economies by 2030. Coal is one of the primary sources for energy with over 40% production of world’s electricity. Nevertheless, coal power plants are faced with critical issues for high global carbon emissions and unsustainable as the energy sources which come from fossils and petroleum-based have a finite quantity that would not be able to be replenished someday.

Other than fossil fuel, charcoal is one of the energy sources used since decades. Mangrove biochar is considered one of the best charcoals due to its high quality.

However, chopping down mangroves for fuel and charcoal production contributes to the lost at a rate faster than tropical rainforests. Mangrove forests are among the most threatened habitats in the world. Thailand has lost 84% of its mangroves, the highest rate of mangrove loss of any nation, while the Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Tanzania, Mexico, Panama, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and the Philippines have each lost more than 60% of their mangrove forests.

In addition, due to limited supply of other unsustainable raw materials for biochar production such as coconut shell, wood and saw dust has caused the industries to search for alternative sources.

Moreover, biochar is also the raw material for manufacturing activated carbon. The activated carbon producers in Asia-Pacific increasingly depend on the coconut shell as raw material.

Natural calamities are highly affecting the value chain of the activated carbon market, especially raw materials. Hence, the price of raw materials mainly coconut shell charcoal has increased. Drop in coconut production is affecting the operational effectiveness of activated carbon producers, as a result of which producers have slashed their production capacities by 50-60% which has resulted in price hikes of activated carbon in 2019.

Meanwhile the activated carbon producers in Japan have started focusing on more sustainable source such as bamboo as raw material, yet they have faced several challenges over the recent years, including insecure supply owing to expensive labor and seasonal employment.

3 million hectares

Although industrialized agriculture has been successful in producing large quantities of food, the future of food production is in jeopardy due to problems in agriculture. Worldwide, around 3 million hectares of agricultural land are lost each year because the soil degrades and becomes unusable due to erosion. As more land is lost, it will become more difficult to produce the amount of food needed to feed the growing human population.

Apart from that, it is crucial to tackle on the issue of the increasing youth’s migration from the small towns and villages, especially among 20-29 age group. ‘Youth-place compatibility’ is  a positive pattern of adjustment that lets young people experience the advantages of rural living without excessive compromise of their education and employment goals. Unemployment and economic stagnation push many youths out. Many of them are forced to leave by a lack of opportunities to earn a living.

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