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Wood, charcoal seized by Sudan authorities

August 13 - 2015 KHARTOUM
Charcoal market in Omdurman (file photo)
Charcoal market in Omdurman (file photo)

The National Forestry Corporation confiscated large quantities of firewood and charcoal in six Sudan states during the past weeks, enforcing a ministerial decision to ban tree felling.

Half a million 100kg sacks of charcoal and large quantities of firewood have been seized since the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry issued the decision on 25 July to combat the ongoing desertification in various parts of the country.

The Coalition of Charcoal Traders has demanded the return of the confiscated charcoal, and a ‘grace period’, to find alternatives for the more than three million people working in the sector.

Ibrahim Abdelkarim, representative of the charcoal traders, said in a press statement on Monday that they have submitted a complaint to the Agriculture and Forestry Committee of Parliament. The traders demand a temporary lifting of the ban, to be able to settle financial transactions made before 25 July for the months thereafter.

Alternative

Many people in Sudan depend on charcoal to cook their daily meals. Gas is often scarce, and in many parts of the country not available at all.

While the use of gas is ultimately cheaper, many Sudanese cannot afford to buy a gas cylinder, if available, of which the prices range between SDG80 ($13) and SDG200 ($33).

Currently, cooking gas is scarce, and people in various parts of Sudan queue for hours to refill their cylinders for SDG20 ($3.30) to SDG30 ($4.90) each.


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