Ministry issues tough new charcoal business rules to reverse forest destruction
Posted Thursday, June 21 2012 at 20:47
The government has issued new rules to regulate the charcoal business to curb indiscriminate logging.
Forestry and Wildlife minister Noah Wekesa has gazetted the guidelines for traders who want to sell or produce charcoal.
The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) will be the only authority issuing charcoal licences.
Through a Kenya Gazette supplement of Forest Act, Dr Wekesa directed that all commercial charcoal producers form associations to get permits.
“We cannot bury our heads in the sand saying that this is an illegality when our brothers and sisters continue to engage in it,” he said in Parliament.
“What we need is to bring sanity into this sector to ensure both sustainability and environmental safety.”
Among the conditions for licensing is having a land planted with trees to act as a buffer when others are felled to maintain an ecological balance.
Traders will be required to show proof of consent from the owner of the site, trees species, the number of trees and the estimated volume to be used for charcoal production.
The Act outlines methods of burning charcoal to meet the slogan of “zero emission of greenhouse gasses.”
Apart from losing the permit, the violators also risk a jail term running concurrently with a fine of not less than Sh50,000. Offenders will not be readmitted into the business, the Act says.
There will be licensing committees and sub-committees set up at the counties and divisions.
Mr Fred Ogombe, the head of Nyanza provincial conservancy, who is spearheading the implementation of the Act in the region, said the ministry is insisting on modern kilns.
“We have the twin retort, Cassamanze and metal brick kilns that are being used by producers in different parts of the province,” he said.
“The ordinary way of charcoal burning leads to a lot of wastage as one only recovers less than 30 per cent of the wood used.