Charcoal has pushed up inflation

The price of charcoal has pushed the cost of Kenyan households after the government put a ban on felling trees and burning charcoal.

According to the latest consumer price index charcoal prices have gone up 66.69 percent over the last one year from Sh81 for four kilograms of the fuel to Sh135 between May 2017 and May 2018.

Between April and May alone the price of charcoal shot up 9 percent underscoring the continued spike in the diminishing commodity.

Charcoal is widely used in restaurants, homes especially rural households, maize roasting and roadside kiosks cooking cereals.

Kenya National Bureau of Standards Director General Zachary Mwangi said that rise in the cost of energy was mainly attributed to increase in the price of cooking fuels with charcoal recording the highest increase of 9.66 percent.

Housing electricity gas and other fuels increased by 1.79 percent in May 2018 compared to 3.24 percent in April 2018.

Since the ban on charcoal was imposed, cross-border trade in the product has shot up especially informal corridors between Kenya and Uganda.

Traders have resorted to bringing charcoal from as far northern and western Uganda as charcoal prices more than doubled from Sh1000 to Sh2,200 per sack in just one week.

Uganda has since banned the export of charcoal to Kenya in an effort to protect its forests although Kenya trailers still don Busia border’s no-man’s land.

Generally, inflation in Kenya rose for the first time this year from 3.73 percent in April, to 3.95 percent in May.

KNBS said that food and non-alcoholic drinks’ index increased by 1.35 percent. This was due to increase in prices of some foodstuffs outweighing decreases recorded in respect of others.

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