Some charcoal sellers in the national capital, Accra, are worried that the imminent ban on charcoal production in the Savannah Region will threaten their livelihoods.
The Savannah Regional Minister, Saeed Muhazu Jibril, gave a 30-day ultimatum, which elapses in the coming days, to stop logging and commercial production of charcoal in the region.
For a mother of 6, Lardy Issifu, a trader at the Odawna market, her only source of livelihood is the charcoal she sells.
“The ban will pose a major challenge. This is our only source of livelihood. We do not have any formal education and selling charcoal is our only trade. The other places we buy from do not have charcoal as good as the ones from the Savannah Region.”
She was distraught with the likely impact the ban on charcoal production in the Savannah Region will have on her business and her family.
Just as Lardy her colleague charcoal seller, Sekina Kennedy, believed no more charcoal to sell could spell doom for her as she has no other skill. Charcoal selling for them is a heritage.
“Will government create employment for us when the ban is enforced? This is the job our forefathers engaged in, and we are only continuing the tradition.”
Though these charcoal sellers may claim to have a legitimate cause for concern the Savannah Regional Minister Saeed Muhazu Jibril believes trees in the region that are part of the Savannah Ecological Zone are threatened by logging and commercial production of charcoal.
The minister as part of his commitment towards this agenda inaugurated a task force to enforce the ban.
But for end-users like Leticia Essuman, a food vendor, the ban poses a threat to her complimentary source of energy.
“If I don’t get charcoal to buy, my operations will be affected because I use it alongside LPG. If I must use just gas my expenses will increase because I use charcoal more often.”
However, Environmental Analyst, Desmond Appiah stressed the health implications of such an alternative.
“What are the uses of charcoal? People are using it to cook. We all appreciate that charcoal may not be the best way for cooking because of the pollutants it emits and even the way the process of making charcoal and especially in Ghana the source of the charcoal if we are using recycled organics to make the charcoal-like briquettes then we are very excited about it but we know that about 98-99% of the charcoal we use comes from the Savannah regions of our country”.
Responding to the likely impact on the livelihoods of persons engaged in the charcoal trade he further stated that there are options worth considering.