The government plan to replace the traditional charcoal as alternative fuel to either that of coal, gas or kerosene/paraffin or/and electricity as source of energy for use in basic cooking is of course quite welcome.
The real issue is not, however viable, its objectives but rather its implementation feasibility in the fast-track time frame spelt out.
Truly, one can look with consternated frown, when intellect is used to discern the feasibility of the Bondare Plan in the six months to a year innovative alternative-change period.
This so called stage in period of change to transformation in the new choice of fuel can never be feasible if the state does not totally subsidize it with colossal amounts of money.
It is true that deforestation pace sets in at a rate that is quite astounding.
When in the 80’s environment scientific experts calculated the speed of the expansion of the Sahara desert to be 40 km per year, the truth is that they did not warn the world of the unsteady rate that gathered more speed on weekly basis. It is safe to aver that it has since more than quadrupled.
The situation today is out of hand hence the six month plan to stop totally stop the charcoal trade is almost impossible to achieve given the poverty-stricken status of the populace.
The forests Somaliland has today can neither sustain their charcoal trade sooner rather than later nor can it be replenished for the total lack of forestation, afforestation or re-afforestation programmes in hand.
For one, the rate of the growth of trees for charcoal production does not correspond to the rate they are cut down for the production. Thus, given that SL is mostly an arid eco-zone 3 to 5 area. It is thus almost impossible to maintain forests.
Secondly, given the newly realized factual evidences of impacts and on global warming and the planet status today, the effects are more than devastating.
The Bondare Plan, in this background, not only comes at an ample time but only can it be achieved through total commitment and subsidization by the state of the whole programme.
Stoves running on kerosene go locally for 12 to 16 USD per piece. Gas cookers are impossible to come by. Our backbone pastoralist common folk population first need to be taught how to precautionary use them.
Getting used to it, is one thing; getting funds to fuel it (gas, kerosene/paraffin) is another.
Soft loans to only purchase the stoves/cookers can be never be an answer when the majority of the population lives from hand to mouth.
How would they run the stoves when fuel prices go higher and higher in SL and lower and lower-er in the rest of the world?!
The plan is wonderful, of course, with the bitter truth being that there is no other way out. Alternative to charcoal has to come sooner rather than later, however painfully taxing it may be for majority of the folks.
But it needs total commitment from the state. It should not be one to serve the entrepreneurs importing stoves and petroleum.
The policy should look comprehensively deeper and further, just as it should intensively and extensively look at all loop-holes for the betterment of the populace.
If it is not checked, it would go down as an overzealous pipe-dream.
We, as Somalilanders, believe the faster realization of sovereignty would help feed the plan. We need our coal and our petroleum to be mined and drilled.
With all respects due, we hope, wish, want, cry, plead and pray that the plan is realized immediately, not only for our own good, but also for that of our posterity.
Goth M Goth