The study uses a nationally representative dataset of smallholder farmers in Zambia to determine the effect of agricultural productivity on households’ participation in charcoal production. An instrumental variable probit approach is applied to account for the endogeneity of agricultural productivity in household's charcoal participation decision. We find a negative and significant effect of agricultural productivity on household's likelihood of participation in charcoal production. Results also show that higher education, income, asset value, and participation in off-farm employment opportunities reduce the likelihood of participation in charcoal production. Therefore, interventions seeking to reduce charcoal production in rural Zambia could benefit from improving smallholder agricultural productivity, incomes, asset base, and off-farm employment creation. However, interventions need not lose sight of other important macro-level factors.