Kevin Reilly on behalf of: Onno Weststrate (NL) and Vlada & Sonja Stojanovic (Serbia)
It may appear to be an odd time of year to be thinking about winter fuel, but the current economic crisis is not just having an effect upon the price of gas and electricity. For communities that are heavily dependent upon wood fuel, they are also finding that the price of wood is soaring too. In response to this, Vlada Stojanovic and Onno Weststrate – along with other local pastors in Serbia – have been working hard to enable local people to stock up on cheaper summer wood, in preparation for the winter. Though (as you will read below) despite the fact that the price of wet wood is cheaper in the summer months, the cost of wood has actually doubled and it is also becoming difficult to buy wood locally, as many sellers are waiting to sell their wood during the winter months when demand will push up prices.
Vlada writes: Things are difficult right now and – to be honest – the outlook is not very promising with regard to finding enough wood to buy and being able to get it for a good price.
In Niš we were able to distribute wood to four families in the church – a widow, a widower, an old couple and a family who are struggling financially. The price we had to pay for wood was €100 per m2. It is so hard to find wood these days and so your support was enough to pay for 50-60% of the cost of the wood, purchased. Our church covered the remainder. Marjan (a friend from Prokuplje) also has a problem finding wood but he is hoping to hear some good news soon.
We think about trying to buy wood from the south of the country, but then the cost of the long distance distribution by truck will just push the price up even more. And again, it will be hard to find wood to buy as sellers are waiting for winter when they can sell their wood for more. And even if we were able to large quantities of wood now, we then face the problem (and cost) of storing wet wood over a long period of time. I think for now we need to wait and see how the next season is going to look.
Pastor Daniel (Lebane) writes: We were able to deliver 1.5m2 of wood to each family. We are finding that all the prices of food and petrol have gone up here by 30-40% and it is the same for the price of wood too. Also, an additional problem is that nobody wants to sell wood at the moment! Everybody is waiting to sell their wood nearer the winter time as then the price will be much higher. For the wood that you see being delivered here, we paid €70 per m2, much more than last year.