Charcoal prices have skyrocketed in districts of the Eastern Province, as charcoal becomes increasingly difficult to come by. The prices have almost doubled since the beginning of the year. A sack of charcoal that cost Rwf4,500 at the beginning of the year now goes for Rwf9,000. Residents and traders who spoke to The New Times, on Wednesday attributed the price increase to shortage of charcoal as a result of restrictions on cutting of trees. Consumers and traders alike have felt the effect of high charcoal prices. Olivier Murekezi, a resident of Rwamagana District, said use of charcoal was almost impossible for low income earners. “The quality of the charcoal is also bad, a family of five people cannot use a sack beyond one week. It requires at least Rwf36,000 a month to use charcoal,” he said. “Some of us with meager incomes find it difficult to make ends meet…life is indeed tough for us with such prices,” he said. Saidat Uwimana, a charcoal trader in Kayonza town, said it’s not only direct consumers affected, but even the charcoal traders feel the impact of high prices. “The cost of living has become very high,” said Uwimana.