Charcoal prices hit Sh5,000 after illegal trade banned in Kajiado
5 months ago, 17 Mar 14:01
A sack of charcoal in Kajiado now costs up to Sh5,000 following Governor Joseph ole Lenku's ban on the trade two weeks ago. A spot check by the Star on Saturday found that a sack once cost Sh600 in Maili Tisa, Mile 46 and Bissil but is now going for Sh3,000. The same quantity cost Sh1,700 in Kitengela but buyers must now part with Sh5,000. Charcoal from Kajiado is of the best quality which equals that from West Pokot and Turkana. But it is made from Acacia trees which take hundreds of years to mature - environmental conservation is the reason why Deputy President has banned logging in all of Kenya's forests while Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has also enforced a strict ban. Related: Joseph Mutune, who sells charcoal in Kitengela, noted prices are higher since the product has become scarce. “The county has stopped us from accessing production areas and those who succeed are arrested by police. We are also blaming heavy rains for the scarcity,” said Mutune. Most homes in the middle and lower classes depend on charcoal but will resort to gas with the higher costs. But they could still spend more since many prefer boiling hard legumes such as beans using jikos. While banning the trade, Lenku announced that the county had taken measures to stop the rampant felling of trees. The Governor formed a multi-agency team of county environment officials, Kenya Forest Service officers and APs and ordered it to crack down on the illegal burning of charcoal, its transportation and the cutting of trees for commercial purposes. Last week, Lenku ordered that all vehicles found transporting charcoal or timber be impounded and owners charged in court. At least two transporters had lost their vehicles by Friday. Elvis Omari's Isuzu truck, registration KCE 317M, was impounded after officers found him with 88 bags of charcoal along Kajiado-Namanga high way on Thursday. Omari was arraigned at a Kajiado court on Friday and fined Sh60,000 with the option of six months in jail. While sentencing him, Chief Magistrate Susan Shitubi noted the seriousness of the offence which he said should be discouraged at all costs. Omari's lorry is normally used to transport milk to outlets in Kajiado towns. Kennedy Oseur, who is the county's environment assistant director, is leading the crackdown. He told the Star that more than 20 vehicles, whose owners have cases in courts, could be lost to the government in the next few weeks. "The evidence from the prosecution is water-tight. We want to completely curb logging and the rampant burning of charcoal in the county," said Oseur. "We are encouraged because the guilty in this illegal trade are being punished according to the law. We are warning vehicle owners against hiring out their vehicles to charcoal traders. They will lose them to the government." Kajiado Central Deputy Commissioner Charles Chege is leading the team of APs taking part in the operation. Consumers have cried foul saying the county did not give sufficient notice before enforcing ...
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