The health and economic burdens caused by inefficient cookstoves and fuels disproportionately impact women and girls, as the responsibility of cooking and fuel gathering largely falls on them.
Although the country is one of the world’s largest exporters of LPG, most Nigerian households rely on firewood for cooking.
This also contributes significantly to deforestation as well as the attendant consequences of climate change.
Speaking at the third edition of the Energy Leader’s Dialogue webinar series with the theme “Innovative Approaches to Clean Cooking in Africa”, experts in the African clean cooking industry said that clean cooking should be a socio-economic priority and backed by investments and multisector partnership.
“People are not enlightened on the effect of smoke on their health. There is little or no awareness about clean cooking as people are stuck on their traditional three stones method.
This can be attributed to inadequate record keeping, especially when people die and knowing what the cause of their death is—that is the effect of pollution on their health.
Greater knowledge dissemination will help motivate people towards clean cooking and looking beyond the financial implications that come with it, ” Happy Amos, Founder, Roshan Renewables Energy said.
According to her, a major barrier to adoption is affordability.
“Despite our stoves being one of the most affordable in the market, we are still having complaints of affordability.
Affordability is one of the reasons adoption is low. We don’t have a good consumer financing system in Nigeria unlike East Africa.
“Greater knowledge dissemination will help motivate people towards clean cooking and looking beyond the financial implications that come with it,” she added.
Also speaking, Professor Arinola Ganiu of the Department of Immunology, University College Hospital, Ibadan in his presentation said smoke contain heavy particulate matters that have very significant effect on the lungs when inhaled.
“In our studies, we found out that exposure to biomass smoke adversely affects health. We also found out that cooking with wood was associated with increased odds of asthma symptoms.
It may lead to increase in the risk of stillbirth, low birth weight and impaired cognitive development. It also increases the prevalence of childhood asthma.
We also found out that pregnant women who cook with kerosene experienced more adverse pregnancy outcomes with their infants weighing less compared to mothers using LNG for cooking.
There is potential gain in health if women are able to switch to a better fuel and stove.
We found out that changing from traditional firewood or kerosene stove to bioethanol burning stove showed a decrease in cardiovascular stress and prothrombotic effects due to decreased Household Air Pollution (HAP).
Thus,switching to ethanol-based stoves provide much needed hope for sustainable cooking alternative to unclean fuels in countries like Nigeria, where high quality ethanol is already being produced locally for cooking,” he said.
On her part, Habiba Ali, Founder, Sosai Renewable Energies said the country is losing its woodland due to tree cutting for cooking.
According to her, this has made firewood to be the most expensive source of cooking fuel in the North.
In her words, ” We lose 350,000 hectares of woodland yearly for cooking energy.
There is no fuel that is as expensive as firewood now in the North. If you put your money together and buy gas, then gas is a lot cheaper than actually buying wood.
We are losing our woodland gradually. The government has tried to plant some shelter belts but people are cutting it down.
There is market opportunities for this in billions of dollars.
There’s no way we will talk about SDG7 without talking about clean cooking. The biggest part of energy use in any household is cooking.
We need to put clean cooking as a socio-economic priority and backed by investments and multisector partnership.
Government needs to show the strength of wanting to do this. They do not understand what we are losing, ” she added.