It’s now been a month since Kitui governor Kaluki Ngilu imposed a ban on charcoal burning and logging in Kitui county.
Now, looking at it from the environmental angle its a good move, and kudos madam governor for your efforts in making Kitui county greener. But again, this ban has more negative effects economically than the positives.
For ages, charcoal trade has been the source of living for many poor families without a formal employment in Kitui county and the larger Ukambani area. Now that the governor has banned charcoal trade, it means many families will lack the basics or struggle too much to get them.
Most of the people who burn charcoal are uneducated and thus landing a formal job for them is not an easy task. I feel that the ban on charcoal trade has left many with few options, with some opting for the next available casual jobs,which are not favourable to everyone due to health complications.
In my opinion,governor Ngilu should have tabled an alternative for those who entirely depended on charcoal trade to feed their families. Maybe she should have started a sacco for charcoal burners and offered them soft loans for them to venture into something else before imposing the ban.
Secondly,90% of households in Kitui(sampling from Kiusyani area) depend on charcoal and wood to cook. This is not because they don’t like gas, no, who on earth would not enjoy cooking with a smokeless cylinder that cooks muthokoi that pretty fast?
The reason is because gas is expensive to acquire and refill regularly. Muthokoi and hard legumes like beans take hours to boil and gas could just be too expensive for such foods.
That said, governor Ngilu could have worked on subsidising the gas prices to an affordable rate so that unpriviledged families can be on the safe side. Either way I look forward to a generation where grandmas will use gas to roast maize for their grandsons!
And by the way, am open to positive criticism. Am not a charcoal burner, neither is my uncle a logger.