The business of selling various forms of woods used as fuel for cooking is on the increase in Gombe communities, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) survey reveals.
Fuelwood is a fuel such as firewood, charcoal, chips, sheets, pellets, and sawdust. The particular form used depends on factors such as source, quantity, quality and application.
In many areas, wood is the most easily available form of fuel, requiring no tools in the case of picking up dead wood, or few tools.
Although in any industry, specialised tools such as skidders and hydraulic wood splitters, have been developed to mechanise production.
NAN correspondent who visited Tashan-Dukku, one of the major firewood spots within Gombe metropolis on Thursday, observed that between 6 a.m. and 8.30a.m, no fewer than 32 trucks unload woods at the spot.
NAN gathered that these trucks bring in the woods from different communities from Dukku, Kwami, Nafada and Funakaye Local Government Areas (LGAs).
One of the drivers, Abubakar Ibrahim confirmed to NAN that he sourced woods from different communities in Dukku and Kwami LGA which he sells to his customers in Gombe metropolis and suburbs.
According to him, a truckload of the wood mostly from sapling (young trees) is sold for between N45, 000 and N50, 000 and he can supply twice in a day depending on demand.
A firewood seller from Nasarawo community, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the business of fuelwood was lucrative in view of the increasing number of customers that patronise the commodity.
Another seller from Yelenguruza, Mrs Rosemary Uchenna, told NAN that starting the business was easy for her as all, “I needed was to secure a space in our street, buy a table and then buy my goods.”
She said that she started the business two months ago with N15, 000 and the business was moving and people preferred wood now because it was cheaper and as we sell at N60 for one wrap.
According to her, I always get supplies from my customers anytime I am in need of firewood and charcoal for sale.
Others who recently started the business in Madaki, Nasarawo and Yelenguruza communities shared similar experiences, adding that there was market for the business and that the business only required little capital to start.
However, Mr Inuwa Ahmed, the Director Forestry and Wildlife, Gombe State Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, said officials of the ministry were being sent to those areas to check such activities.
“Sometimes, we do send our people on patrol to places where these acts are being carried out and impound the woods and charcoal gotten from those areas.’’
He stated that recently, some firewood and charcoal were impounded and four persons involved had been fined, adding that in some cases the ministry also took persons involved in tree cutting to court to serve as deterrent.
“When you are caught with about two tonnes of charcoal, you will be fined at least N30, 000 for such activities.’’
Ahmed noted that the ministry was also collaborating with traditional leaders at the community level to help report activities of indiscriminate felling of trees in their domains for appropriate measures by the state government.
He said that the ministry was planning massive campaigns against tree felling and the need to support the state government in ensuring the success of the “Gombe Goes Green (3G) project’’.
Ahmed advised residents to stop cutting down trees, abide by all forestry laws and embrace environmental-friendly cooking sources.