Charcoal traders and businesses in Meru town are facing challenges as the prices of charcoal continue to rise steeply.

Joshua Kimathi, a charcoal trader at Gakoromone market, notes that the price of a sack of charcoal has surged from Sh1,700 in December last year to Sh2,200 presently. This significant increase has impacted various sectors, including the hotel industry, which heavily relies on charcoal for its operations.

Zubeida Wanja, a local hotel owner in Makutano town, expresses her struggle to balance expenses due to the heightened charcoal prices. The increased costs have compelled her to adjust food prices to manage her spending effectively.

Households are also feeling the pinch, with individuals like Ann Kananu resorting to reducing meal frequencies to cope with the economic strain.

Kimathi attributes the price surge to higher procurement costs, particularly from neighbouring Tharaka Nithi. Despite the increase, small-scale retailers are still selling smaller quantities at last year’s prices, highlighting the challenges faced by traders.

Rebecca Ntinyari, another local retailer, shares her concerns about dwindling profits due to rising procurement and transportation expenses. She notes a decline in business performance, especially in February compared to January.

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