ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka online retailer Kapruka.com is doing a roaring business on firewood an official said, as a cooking gas shortage created was created by the island’s main price control agency.
Listed under home category, grocery sub category, and cleansers kapruka.com is selling a bundle of 5 kg cinnamon firewood at 140 rupees ($0.66) while a mud stove and bundle of 5 kg fire wood is offered at 390 rupees.
“It’s real. People are buying this plus clay stoves as a backup or ‘just in case’ fears,” Kapruka.com’s founder and chairman Dulith Herath told EconomyNext while forwarding a picture which showed that 1,447 bundles of firewood have been already sold and only 124 bundles were in stock.
Separately in his facebook page he said: “Never imagined we’ll be selling firewood online. but it’s actually selling.”
The firewood is labled daramitiya (bundle of wood in Sinhalese), the words which most Sri Lankans recognize the product whose usage has been on the decline with the increasing gas stove usage.
Before Sri Lanka privatized the Colombo Gas Company to Shell Gas, which was a state enterprise with rusty cylinders which were only available in a few locations and shortages were frequent, people used wood stoves for cooking.
Bullock carts used to go around selling daramitiyas.
Kapruka in its website said the firewood stock will be delivered islandwide within 24 hours.
The new online firewood sale comes after the country witnessed days of queues across the country following the liquid petroleum gas shortage after the Consumer Affairs Authority denied Laufgs Gas a price increase as petroleum prices went up and the rupee fell amid money printing.
Following the severe shortage, the CAA last week allowed a part increase but since then the rupee has fallen further and butane and propane prices have also gone up.
The government, however, maintained the price of Litro gas, which has a market share of around 80 percent. ($1 = 211 Sri Lankan rupees) (Colombo/Aug17/2021)