Charcoal Business Boom Despite The Danger On Environment

A Businessman displays charcoal in Bor town, Jonglei State. [Gurtong | Jacob Achiek Jok]

Deng Arou Deng, a local businessman says that charcoal business is booming in the town as they buy the charcoal from the businessmen at the forest where he buys as many as 100 bags for sell to the local hotels.

“I used to buy 100 bags of charcoal from the charcoal makers and sell them to big hotels at rate of 65 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) per a sack of charcoal. Sometime I do give them without money and came for the money after one week according to the agreement we made with hotel manager,” he said.

He says that he makes 100 SSPs per trip and makes two trips every week.

Charcoal production is one of the primary causes of deforestation in the country and if unregulated could lead to massive forest destruction in Jonglei State.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Jonglei recently launched a tree planting exercise to avert deforestation and replace the cut down trees.

The ministry is selling thousands of seedlings to the populace in order to help in replacing the trees which have been cut in Bor town forestry areas.

According to the State Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Mayen Ngor Atem, the influx of returnees and Internally Displaced Persons led to the cutting of trees at a high rate for both charcoal burning and expansion of land for settlement

Atem said that deforestation can be addressed by planting trees around homes and on the streets of state capital.

The minister said that a tree nursery will be used as a demonstrative farm for the students studying agriculture and forestry courses at universities.

Each seedling costs three South Sudanese Pounds, a price he says is affordable to families with low incomes in Jonglei state.

The minister said the main goal of the nursery is to increase agriculture forestry production and productivity through intensification and diversification of the productions.

According to the minister, the 2012 state budget included revenue expected to be generated from the sale of seedlings.

He estimated the government will bring in 50,000 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) from the sale if the all the people are to purchase the seedlings.

The illegal cutting of trees is rampant in the state capital but the county authorities have power to stop the influx of illegal deforestation.

 “I do say my business is good to the customers because I delivered the services to the people and sell the bag of charcoal at a lower prices not compared to the prices of other groups who used to charge 70 SSP per a bag of charcoal,” said Deng.

According to Deng, the business is one of the easiest jobs for the illiterate group.

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