The extended ban on logging in government forests triggered a 42,000 tonne increase in cooking gas usage as imports rose to an all-time high of 240,484 tonnes valued at Sh15 billion.
The 21 percent increase was further informed by the government’s decision to increase kerosene retail prices from Sh66.99 in 2017 to Sh90.06 last year through a tax rise, putting the cost out of reach of majority of poor households.
Kerosene is a must-have for most urban families and is mainly used for cooking and lighting homes in areas yet to be linked to the national grid and off-grid power solutions.
“Sales of timber from government forests dropped by 83.6 percent from 881,800 cubic metres in 2017 to 144,200 cubic metres in 2018.
Softwood sales dropped from 798,400 cubic metres in 2017 to 30,900 cubic metres in 2018,” it says.
The sale of hardwood timber sourced from private farms increased from 83,400 cubic metres in 2017 to 113,300 cubic metres in 2018.
Tough times continue to hit Kenyans with charcoal and firewood sales falling by a record 82.1 percent to 9,600 stacked cubic metres in 2018 while harvesting of trees for power poles declined from 34,200 in 2017 to 29,200 in 2018.
According to the 2019 Economic Survey, the logging ban appears to have benefited government forests last year during which the State partnered with scores of companies to plant tree seedlings leading to an increase in forest cover by 9,200 hectares.
In 2018 there was the highest rainfall recorded in the past five years helping raise forest cover by 4.8 percent.
As the logging moratorium continues, Kenyans await outcome of an ongoing investigation into sawmilling business across the country ordered by Environment secretary Keriako Tobiko.
This is after it was discovered most saw-millers harvested trees in government forests but were yet to remit Sh3 billion revenues.