22.1 million Ghanaians rely on harmful cooking sources

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
22.1 million Ghanaians rely on harmful cooking sources
22.1 million Ghanaians rely on harmful cooking sources

An energy expert has called for a clear strategy to help in the attainment of set targets for improved cookstove (ICS) in the country.

The Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) has a target to reach 1.3 million households, while the Nationally Determined Contribution to Climate Change Mitigation Document seeks to achieve two million cookstoves by 2020, yet there is no clear strategy.

An Energy Advisor at the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Mr Dramani Bukari, said there ought to be some level of action to be taken to realise the World Bank estimate of 1.3 per cent of improving cooking rate annually.

"We can't just set targets and leave them aloof. Concrete and deliberate actions ought to be taken to realise them," he stated in an interview at a training workshop for journalists at Elmina in the Central Region by the SNV Voice for Change (V4C) Partnership Programme.

The V4C is an evidence-based advocacy programme implemented in partnership with the International Food and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the period of 2016-2020.

Focused on four themes, namely; renewable energy; food and nutrition security; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), it seeks to build vibrant civil society organisations to advocate for conducive environment in these sectors.


Thus, the energy component focused on increased access to affordable, efficient and sustainable energy solutions with emphasis on clean cooking and access to off- grid electrification.

Need for clean cooking

About 21.7 per cent of Ghanaians have access to clean cooking technologies and fuels and 22.1 million people in Ghana still rely on solid fuels for cooking and heating.

Experts say relying on traditional cooking methods such as firewood have serious health, environmental and economic consequences. A total of four million deaths annually globally and over 13000 in Ghana through exposure to Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia causing acute, pneumonia, lower respiratory infections, lung cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke.

Challenges

Mr Bukari indicated that there was no preparatory works towards the implementation of the Standards and Lable (S&L) drafted and gazetted by the Energy Commission for improved cooking technology by 2019.

Again, manufacturers have expressed concerns about high import duties on ICS manufacturing materials which will add to their cost and households, perhaps they may not be able to afford.

He said for manufacturers to be motivated to increase quality to the level of S&L, there ought to be market for them.

"We need to create awareness of the technologies available for ICS and the consequences of relying on the traditional cooking fuels to realise a more robust ICS sector.

The government seeks to attain a 50 per cent penetration of cooking with Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) by 2020 in both urban and rural areas.

In the interim, Mr Bukari said the ICS remained a technology that cannot be abandoned.

"Much as we want to promote LPG, if the government decides to make LPG free to everyone in terms of cylinders, how many households will be able to bear the recurrent cost of filling their gas regularly, coupled with infrastructure to deliver? he asked.