By Nation Reporter
CHARCOAL traders have increased the charcoal price from K50 per 50 kilogramme bag to K60 and K5 to K7 those packed in plastic bags due to the high demand arising from the cold season.
A check by the Daily Nation revealed that a lot of people especially in highly populated areas had resorted to the use of charcoal for cooking due to load shedding and the cold winter season, forcing traders to hike prices.
And a charcoal trader from Mtendere market Mwaba Kabole said very few people could afford to use electricity because it was expensive as compared to charcoal.
She observed that some people were buying limited electricity units and spent more on charcoal to take care of their needs.
Another trader Isaac Ngoma added that charcoal was an effective and cheaper alternative source of energy for local communities, hence the rise in price because of high demand.
He said the increase in charcoal price was also caused by the decision by the Forestry Department to effect an upward adjust of fees for the charcoal trading license.
Mr. Ngoma said it was not only consumers who were directly affected by soaring charcoal prices but even traders felt the impact.
‘‘We are using survival methods to run our businesses; we can’t afford to pay the Forestry Department anymore and when moving our products from either Kapiri Mposhi and other places, we boldly decide to either meet the police or traffic officers head on and if they seize our items, then that is it. But if we are lucky we get here with all our charcoal,’’ he said.
But Melody Zulu complained that the quality of the charcoal they were supplied with was so poor that a family of five could not use a 50 kg sack for a week and they required at least two bags of charcoal per month.
In Lusaka’s Kaunda Square Stage 2 area, a 50 kilogramme bag of charcoal was being sold at K60, while the same quantity in Lusaka’s Mtendere compound was pegged at K90 and K80 in Matero.