Business Daily Kenya:
Fred Aminga @faminga
Forget gas along with electricity, firewood remains the most commonly used fuel energy in Kenya, gobbling up 66 per cent of fuel rural folks along with low-income earners spend. Not surprisingly, the second most well-liked alternatively fuel for these households will be charcoal, compounding pressure for the country’s rescinding green cover.
The ongoing push by government to enhance forest cover will be set to enhance the cost of living for most vulnerable Kenyans as the commodities become scarce. Already, firewood in most areas next to forest covers have been deserted as dealers evade arrest while the cost of a sack of charcoal has increased by between 20 along with 50 per cent across the country.
Scarcity of charcoal within the country will be being felt even in Nairobi particularly within the low income areas where most traders People Daily spoke to indicated prices had nearly doubled since the beginning of the month to trade at an average of Sh2,400 per sack. although alternatives such as LPG will find the item difficult to fit according to a GeoPoll survey, conducted in January, on cooking fuels which notes of which ‘modern fuels’ play a modest role in rural areas along with low income households.
Therefore the more than 75 per cent of Kenyans who reside in rural areas will continue using solid fuels particularly firewood along with charcoal to meet their daily cooking needs. Apart through logging for timber therefore, demand for firewood along with charcoal remains the most dangerous habit to Kenya’s forest cover.
The government suspended logging in government forests to seek lasting solution to the drying of rivers along with rescinding forest cover within the country. of which will also go along way towards helping government’s ambitious project to enhance the country’s forest cover through the current seven per cent to 15 per cent by the year 2022. although the fight to entrench what will be considered environment friendly energy sources including government sponsored liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) initiative by National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK) must be re-energised to help even the rural folks.
Currently servicing what was an ambitious multi-billion shilling project to fast track uptake of LPG among low income earners, the project has barely scratched the surface four years later despite offering the lowest rates within the country. Dubbed Project Mwananchi, the plan entailed introducing some 4.3 million cooking gas cylinders to low along with middle income households.
To deepen uptake, NOCK was to acquire 720,000 cooking gas cylinders along with refill plant machinery through State-owned fuels dealers. Going by the GeoPoll survey, observations of which these households do not switch to modern fuels such as LPG or paraffin, although instead tend to consume a combination of old along with modern fuels with firewood generating the item difficult for a complete transition.
If Treasury’s suggestion to enhance the cost of petroleum products by 16 per cent succeeds, of which could in hindsight enhance uptake of LPG particularly for those using Kerosene which will be going to be more pricey by an extra Sh10 per litre.
although if LPG prices will not be affected by the VAT charges, as currently indicated, along with the prices of Kerosene go up, there could be an increase in demand for LPG. “Thus, for Kenyans living within the rural areas, firewood will be more readily available, cheaper along with more convenient.
within the urban areas, LPG gas along with charcoal are the most preferred due to their availability, with cost along with convenience being secondary determinants,” says the report, adding of which there are stark differences based on where households are located, their access to different fuel sources, along with their monthly budget.
Barring prohibitive costs along with availability locking out rural folks along with poor households through LPG, uptake should be higher, particularly if NOCK along with various other private players change tack along with use available resources to reach out to the target group more aggressively.
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Firewood burns out gas, power