By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh
The president of the Liberia United Charcoal Union, Mr. Alfred H. Kilimi is calling for free, fair, and transparent elections in October.
Speaking Saturday, 24th June 2023, at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex (SKD) in Paynesville during commemoration of Charcoal Union Day, Mr. Kilimi stressed the importance of the charcoal industry in Liberia to the growth of the economy.
“Since time immemorial, charcoal producers have served and sustained the livelihoods of thousands of citizens, while forging economic and trade relations”, he said.
He points to difficulties producers face in keeping charcoal on the local market for the general population but noted that the sector has been downplayed by government with no recognition for the crucial role producers played, revealing that nearly 85 percent of the Liberian population depends on charcoal for livelihood.
“For too long, since the birth of our nation, the plights and wellbeing of charcoal producers and sellers across the length and breadth of Liberia have not been taken into consideration by national decision-makers, which is terrible,” he said.
“This shouldn’t be downplayed as it is, because 75% of this population uses charcoal, and those who produce the charcoal for sustainability are mostly single and aging mothers, few of our men who are sacrificing in the bush to cut woods, going through pains, rural part of the country in order to meet up with the growing demand of population.”
He reiterated that as Liberia draws closer to the crucial October 10 Presidential and Legislative polls, the union seeks a seat and voice at the national table of decision-making in the best interest of the over two hundred thousand (200,000), members of the charcoal industry.
Meanwhile, the Liberia United Charcoal Union, (LUCCU) is an umbrella of local charcoal producers, established in 2019 to address welfare of its members.