| Measuring drought and drought impacts in Red Sea Province |
|8. Changes in tree density on five sites in Red Sea Province: early 1960s to 1989. Roy Cole|
There are three interesting characteristics of the charcoal trade in Red Sea Province:
1. Local production is considered inferior to charcoal imported from the Gedarif area
2. Local production supplies only a small part of the Port Sudan demand.
3. Production of charcoal and especially firewood in Red Sea Province is a poor person's occupation.
The best charcoal in Port Sudan is imported from Gedarif. The charcoal making process used in the Gedarif area is better than that used in Red Sea Province and the charcoal is of higher quality. In addition, individual pieces of Gedarif charcoal are bigger than charcoal made from Red Sea Province's small acacias. Although transport costs are reflected in the higher price of Gedarif charcoal, higher quality is also involved').
The fuel of preference among the upper and aspiring classes in Port Sudan is bottled gas. Bottled gas burns cleaner and, most important, is subsidised by the government. A full bottle costs only 16 Sudanese pounds. Most families that use gas use charcoal on occasion as well. The charcoal ES used for specialty cooking, for example, coffee, or at large gash--rings where gas would be impractical to use such as weddings. Gas is in such demand that there is a thriving black market in gas bottles and regulators. An empty gas bottle currently sells for 1500.00 Sudanese pounds. Since the change in government of 30 June 1989 and the imposition of price controls in urban areas, the cost of locally produced and imported charcoal has dropped dramatically from 110 and 140 to 55 Sudanese pounds per 40 kilogram sack; a 50 and 61 percent drop respectively. People who previously principally used bottled gas are now switching to charcoal. In July 1989, all of the charcoal in stock in Port Sudan was sold within a week after the beginning of price control.