Demand for charcoal among petty traders in Oyo state, Nigeria: a paradox of survival and environmental degradation

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Striking a balance between human survival heightened by mass unemployment and the environment is crucial to the sustainability of the natural resources. The role of petty trader is important in ensuring that the excess supply during harvest is processed into the forms (roasted maize, yam, plantain, meat and chicken) appreciated by consumers instead of being a loss to farmer. While average daily income of 2670.79 Nigerian naira (₦) was assured, substantial quantity of charcoal (46786.3 kg) was utilized per week by petty traders. This is equivalent of 20.6 hectares of wood. The per capita charcoal utilization per week for suya, roasted yam and plantain sellers were 178.7 kg, 85.2 kg and 145.8 kg, respectively. These were obtained from clearing 0.8 ha (suya), 0.4 ha (roasted yam) and 0.6 ha (plantain) of wood. Age of respondents, experience in petty trading and hours of trading per day have a positive influence on the quantity of charcoal utilized per day, while frequency of purchase (charcoal) and rainy season have a negative relationship with quantity of charcoal used per day. Considering the appreciable quantity of charcoal utilization among petty traders and its negative effect on the environment, government should go beyond collecting taxes from charcoal producers. Also, the need for control over exploitation of trees and mobilization of staff of the Ministry of Forestry for prompt tree planting are required.

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    • Fig. 1. Age distribution of respondents
    • Table 1. The one-way ANOVA table
    • Table 2. Socioeconomic characteristics of respondents
    • Table 3. Average quantity (kg) of charcoal utilized, expenditure on charcoal and sales revenue of traders per day
    • Table 4. Distribution of daily sales (₦) among respondents
    • Table 5. Per capita charcoal utilization per week by the different categories of traders
    • Table 6. Distribution of respondents by the choice of the roasted foods being sold
    • Table 7. Analysis of Variance result for comparing daily expenditure on charcoal by petty traders
    • Table 8. Result of multiple regression analysis