The recent ban on logging and charcoal burning in Government forests has led to the rise in charcoal prices.
The ban has also pushed up the demand for briquettes, which are made from unconventional material - human waste and sawdust - by the Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company (Nawasco).
According to the project manager, John Irungu, Nawasco has been overwhelmed by orders for briquettes, prompting them to purchase a machine large enough to produce enough briquettes to meet the market demand.
“We produce two tonnes of briquettes per month but all this is sold out, leaving huge orders pending. The market has also expanded beyond Nakuru County where we had focused on,” said Mr Irungu.
He said the demand had caused them to slow down their sensitisation campaigns as they were unable to meet the demand.
“Previously we were able to store the product in our stores but we are now getting orders before we even produce the briquettes, which have gained popularity especially in Nakuru,” he said.
Irungu estimated that a family of seven people would require two kilos of briquettes per day, which they are selling at Sh30 per kilo. They are currently packaging the briquettes in 2kg packets.
In a bid to meet the growing demand, the company has bought a machine capable of producing up to 10 tonnes of the briquettes per day.
“The ban on logging is a blessing. We have been producing two tonnes per month, which is only a fraction of the demand. To cope with this, we have procured a machine that can produce 10 tonnes a day. This will meet a bigger demand,” he said.
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The logging and charcoal burning ban, however, is expected to affect sawdust supply to the company as sawmills close down.
The company is currently exploring materials that can replace the sawdust, which is mixed with human waste at a ratio of 1:1.