2. THE COMMERCIALISATION OF WOODFUEL IN LIBERIA-1994-1998
The second primary purpose besides household energy supply, which influences the production of woodfuel is the economic value to which Liberians attach importance after the civil war. Woodfuel trade is being localised. Although, there is a rumour which states that charcoal is been shipped through metal containers at the Port of Monrovia, efforts to ascertain the facts have not been successful, and so the information herein, focuses only on local sales of the commodities. Wood commodity prices depend upon few factors as follow: The distance at which charcoalers transport the goods, the source used to produce coal, the time during which (rain or dry seasons) the production take place, and the demand at community level (see Tables 5a and 5b). Whole sale and retailing prices vary in view of these criterions.
In certain communities of the city of Monrovia, (say the Duala market area) charcoals produced from rainforest trees or the mangrove sawn trees are sold at LD$ 85 - 110 per bag of about 18 - 25kg. during the dry season, and LD $140 - 150 during the raining season. Charcoal produced from rubber trees (soft coal) is sold for LD$ 75 - 85 dollars, and LD$ 115 - 130 dollars respectively during the same seasons.
At the retailing level of the consuming market, a large size bag of coal contains at average, 14 heaps or plastic bags which are sold at LD$ 10.00 each, while with at the small size of plastic sold for LD$ 5.00, a bag contains about 25 - 27 plastics. This means that a charcoal bag purchased at LD$ 75.00 and sold at retail price of LD$ 5.00 will give a profit of LD$ 50.00 or LD$ 40.00.
In terms of fuelwood, a bundle of 25 -35Kg. is sold at 25 to 30 dollars. Industries such as bakeries fish drying, brake making etc. purchased these wood commodities at whole sale at 10-15 dollars a bundle, excluding trucking. Away from Monrovia (50 or more miles), prices charged depend on the distance at which these forest goods are transported. For example, a truckload of wood of about 17 cubic meters, (taking about 300-350 bundles of wood) would cost LD 7,000- 8,000 dollars from Bassa County to Monrovia, while nearby communities such as Shelffling, a wood cutter would charge for a 25-to 30 kilos of wood at LD 10.00 for 3,500 dollars for a full truck load. A truckload of wood from Bomi and Cape Mount counties would cost about LD 5,000 or 6,000 dollars.