Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Why charcoal price commodity rises up in Dar markets
CHARCOAL users in the city of Dar es Salaam have been digging deeper into their pockets for the last two months now in order to afford the increased price rate for charcoal being sold in most Dar city suburbs, the survey can establish. The survey carried out in most city’s suburban areas has revealed that charcoal commodity which is largely used as a source of fuel mostly by low income earners, has shot up from Tshs. 12.000/- to Shs. 18,000/- for a small sack and from Sh. 22,000/- to Sh. 30,000/- for bigger sacks respectively. Following such an increase, the survey has discovered that most people who are not able to afford the price of one sack, resort to a retail price whereby charcoal is sold in small tins in individual selling booths at an exorbitant price rate of between Sh. 1,400/- and Sh. 1,500/- respectively. Unlike before, the retail price rates could be fetched at between Tsh. 1,000/- and Shs. 1,200/- per tin two months ago irrespective of their sizes which is measured in terms of their volumes respectively. Charcoal traders says that, the skyrocketing of this precious commodity is attributed to low production levels following the recent ban imposed by the government few months ago on wanton felling of trees from which charcoal is made in forests. Apart from this, the increase has also been exacerbated by the currently torrential rains which have began to set in, thus rendering the production and transportation of charcoal sacks from the forests to become difficult. Forest tracks become muddy and ultimately rendered impassable, says Ramadhani Msewa a charcoal seller from Chanika in Ilala district. A spot check at various designated markets selling charcoal within the city’s suburbs shows that, customers who buy this commodity have complained over the high prices and thereby asking the government to reduce measures it has imposed for most of them depend largely on the use of charcoal as a source of fuel in their homes. Hashim Karim a resident of Kiwalani who entirely prefers on retailing says that, he has to leave Shs. 1,500/- everyday for his wife to buy two tins of charcoal to let her cook the whole day’s meals for his entire family. Hashim who works as a casual labourer encounters a lot of family problems owing to his minimal wage which is being paid on casual basis that is not enough to cater for the daily family needs.
Despite of the fact that charcoal price is high, on the other way round, charcoal traders, the so-called the middlemen of this business are complaining the way district authorities from the forest department treats them while transporting their sacks for sale to the designated markets in the city. Salehe Rashid, a resident of Gongo la Mboto said in an interview when interviewed last week that, the authorities from forest department of Kisarawe district from where most charcoal which is sold in Dar es Salaam city comes from do charge them a levy amounting to Tsh. 4,000/- for every small sack and Sh. 7,000 for bigger ones upon valid trade licenses, no matter how many sacks one might be transporting. He affirmed that, high levies charged by the district authorities is another compelling problem an aspect he noted forces them to raise up the price to attain a considerable profit margin. According to him, whenever he uses his bicycle to transport two sacks for a trip to the market, each sack he carries is charged without knowing the profit he attains from each one of them and after selling he virtually earns a minimal of Tshs. 3,000/- profit for every sack he manage to sell. Statistics shows that, the proportion of people using solid fuels like firewood and charcoal on the main land Tanzania rose from 60 percent in 2000 to 90 percent in 2010. The figures also reveal that in Zanzibar, this proportion currently stands at 96 percent. Other statistical figures have it that more than 46 million cubic meters of fuel wood are required annually on the mainland alone. This does not only reflect the annual loss of forest cover with imminent effects on the environment. But also illustrates the importance that should be accorded to measures targeting the conservation of forest cover which constitutes more than 50 percent of the land surface. What matters is what can be done in order to increase the awareness of the alternative energy sources to forest depletion. Tanzania is currently implementing its policies and plans on how to save its natural vegetation eg forest. According to one an environmentalist, to reduce further losses, he has urged that the private sector institutions should be more willing to keep their corporate doors open to any initiative aimed at reducing firewood and charcoal demands furthermore to reverse the loss of environmental resources. Biomass energy resources accounts for 93 percent of the total energy consumption. Fuel-wood alone is estimated to account for 97 percent of all fuel consumption and 92 percent of all country’s source of energy.