Charcoal dealers demand alternative source of income

By Ben Leshau

Former charcoal sellers in Narok town want the County Government to help them start alternative businesses after it banned the sale of charcoal and other forest products two months ago.
Over 200 women whose livelihoods used to depend on charcoal recently thronged National Government offices saying they were suffering due to the ban.
Through their representatives, Grace Partoip and Ann Sankok, the women said in as much as they support the conservation of environment, the manner in which the Government imposed the ban ignored charcoal dealers’ plight.
Majority of the women who said they had been in the charcoal trade for several decades, said the ban dealt a big blow to their families.
Ms Partoip said she used tree stumps from the bushes in her farm which she burned to produce charcoal.
“I have never gone to the forest to cut trees or burn charcoal. I use tree stumps from my farm.As women who are the breadwinners in our families we just do not know what to do next,” she observed. Ms. Ann Sankok from Olpopong area pleaded with the County Government to help the women find alternative means of earning income.
“I am a widow and the only sole bread winner of my family,” she added.
In February this year, Narok Governor Samuel Tunai and area County Commissioner George Natembeya banned charcoal trade in a bid to save the dwindling forest cover in the county.
Narok North Assistant County Commissioner Hadija Adam who addressed the women advised them to form groups in order to access government loans from Women Fund, Uwezo Fund, Youth funds or the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).

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