CHAPTER NINE ELIZABETH J. LOMBARD LESSONS ON IMPROVED COOKSTOVE DIFFUSION: INDIA, KENYA AND CHINA
Introduction The diffusion of fuel-efficient biomass stoves throughout the developing world began in the early 1980s and was largely justified as a "demand side" solution to the fuelwood crisis (Barnes et al., 1994). Although limited numbers of improved stoves had been promoted worldwide since the 1950s, these were concerned mainly with reducing health problems related to wood smoke exposure (Chege, 1993). By the 1970s, however, with annual human population growth rates peaking at over three percent in developing countries, and stocks of renewable resources such as fresh water and wood rapidly declining, problems related to population-environment interactions began gaining the attention of policy-makers. The fuelwood problem was placed on many national agendas. Over half of the world relied on fuelwood for home energy. Numerous studies reported that villagers spent greater amounts of time searching for firewood and increasingly resorted to the burning of dung and crop residues for domestic energy -- tell-tale signs of fuelwood shortage (Agarwal, 1986; Barnes et al., 1994; Mellor, 1988). Rural communities such as those in mountainous regions of Nepal and Peru, and arid countries in the Sahel, were depleting their surrounding fuelwood stocks at alarming rates in order to supply household energy needs (Mellor, 1988). Total fuelwood demand was exacerbated by the oil crisis of the 1970s when many poor urban dwellers, previously using kerosene and natural gas to cook, reverted to woodfuel (including charcoal) use in response to the rising cost of petroleum (Chege, 1993). As the Table 1 illustrates, by 1980, fuelwood scarcity affected major regions throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. Besides the direct concern that decreased stocks of fuelwood would lead to a widespread rural energy shortage, the fuelwood situation was regarded as dangerous for other reasons. Excessive fuelwood consumption was believed to be a major cause of local deforestation, leading to a cascade of ecological problems such as soil erosion and species extinction. Furthermore, because fuelwood shortage caused an increased Table 1: Fuelwood use by selected ecological regions: 1980 (in cubic meters per cap. per year)
Region Need Availability Fuelwood status
-arid .5 05 - .01 Acute scarcity -mountainous 1.4 - 1.9 .5 - .7 Acute scarcity -savanna 1.0 - 1.5 .8 - .9 Deficit Asia
-mountainous 1.3 - 1.8 .2 - .3 Acute scarcity -indo-gangetic plains .2 - .7 .15 -.25 Deficit Latin America
-Andean plateau .95 - 1.6 .2 - .4 Acute scarcity -semi arid .7 - 1.2 .6 -1.0 Deficit -arid .6 - .9 .1 - .3 Acute scarcity reliance on crop waste and dung to supply household energy, concern arose that farmers were returning less biomass to the earth, thereby lowering soil fertility and agricultural output (Barnes et al., 1994). Wide-spread rural diffusion of fuel-efficient cooking stoves, therefore, was seen as a promising way to reduce overall fuelwood demand -- since an average 75 percent of biomass energy is used for cooking -- and allow rural communities to restore their fuelwood stocks until they made the transition from woodfuel to other fuels (see Diagram 1 and Graph 1).
Graph 1. With great enthusiasm, programs were launched by national governments, international development organizations such as UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and CARE, dozens of smaller aid organizations, and private companies. By the mid-1980s, over 100 improved cookstove programs were underway in more than 60 developing countries (see map entitled Improved Cookstove Projects: Selected Countries). As early as 1983, however, feedback on cookstove projects was not encouraging. After initial introduction of stoves to rural areas, dissemination was not spontaneously taking place as predicted. The seeming advantages of fuel-efficiency did not appear to be an adequate incentive for the local purchase of new stoves, even with subsidies. Moreover, many new stoves did not meet local needs, did not live up to their laboratory efficiency rates, and did not hold up to the rigors of daily use. Within months, many dissatisfied households abandoned their improved stoves and returned to their previous way of cooking -- over a three-stone fire, or with other low-efficient traditional stoves. By 1986, fewer than 12 of the more than 100 woodstove projects world-wide were believed to have distributed or sold over 5000 stoves (Agarwal, 1986). A 150-page report by the International Institute for Environment and Development (funded by the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and several other foundations) seemed to seal the cookstove coffin by questioning the basic value of most projects worldwide: The wrong stoves were promoted for the wrong reasons in the wrong way, (Brown, 1985, Foley, 1983). Map 1. Nevertheless, in its 1994 review of stove programs throughout the world, the World Bank reaffirmed the value of cookstove projects, and the capacity for cookstove diffusion to take place: The social, economic, and environmental benefits of promoting improved stoves under suitable circumstances are quite large, and the existing successes demonstrate the usefulness of well-managed programs. (Barnes et al., 1994). In order to explain this attitude transformation toward cookstove programs -- stemming from the failures of many cookstove projects in the early 1980s followed by their rebound in the last decade -- I will focus on three countries where dissemination of cookstoves has been greatest: India, Kenya and China. Because these countries represent three disparate approaches to cookstove program design and implementation -- resulting in poor dissemination in India, moderate dissemination in Kenya, and overwhelming success in China -- they offer important lessons to present and future efforts to spread fuel-efficient cooking technology throughout the developing world. I will not address whether improved cookstove diffusion does, in fact, reduce woodfuel demand or improve environmental conditions. Rather, I will focus my discussion narrowly on the elements of successful and failed cookstove dissemination efforts by presenting case studies of the aforementioned countries. India Indias fuelwood shortage, serious 20 years ago, has now reached critical heights. Indian per capita consumption of woodfuel has held steady for the past 2O years while its total population has grown by nearly two-thirds (see Graph 2).
A sharp increase in the price of commercial fuels (kerosene, coal and charcoal) over the last 15 years explains the persistent use of fuelwood for cooking among urban poor, while fuelwood scarcity in rural areas has caused many families to turn to the burning of dung and straw for household energy (see Table 2). Table 2: Fuelwood Prices in Selected Indian Cities
FUELWOOD PRICE IN RUPEES, PER TON
CITIES 1960 1986 1992
Ahmedabad 90 740 1191 Bangalore 47 657 1135 Bombay 84 1232 1812 Calcutta 93 1040 1585 Hyderabad 66 667 917 Today, India still relies on woodfuel to satisfy 24 percent of its total energy consumption. The World Resources Institute report for 1994-95 indicated that Indias forests can sustainably provide 41 million cubic meters of fuelwood per year, although current annual demand for wood stands at 241 million cubic meters (World Resources Institute, 1994). In the village of Gujarat, India, it takes an average of 3 hours per day to collect wood for a family of 5; one family member --usually a child -- often spends all of her time outside the home completing this chore (World Resources Institute, 1994). Hoping to abate this national thirst for woodfuel, the Indian National Programme on Improved Chulhas (stoves) was launched in 1983 (Barnes et al., 1994). Administered by the central bureaucracy, as well as in six regional offices (and in numerous state and district offices), the program aimed to disseminate hand-made clay and mud stoves (equipped with chimneys) in order to double the fuel-efficiency of traditional three-stone fires and reduce indoor air pollution (Barnes et al., 1994). The government took a campaign approach to dissemination, implementing an aggressive country wide effort, with special emphasis on rural India. Ten-day demonstration camps were held to motivate and involve villagers, local government functionaries and students in the rapid diffusion effort (Agarwal, 1988). Local women, especially, were targeted for the building and marketing of chulhas (Chege, 1993). A major component of the diffusion strategy was the provision of a government subsidy to all households purchasing an improved stove. A minimum 50 percent subsidy was available, reducing the cost of new stoves from $10 to $4.30 (Kammen, 1995; Barnes et al., 1994). As a result of this massive campaign, India quickly disseminated improved stoves to about 8 million households. However, fundamental weaknesses in this approach gradually became apparent. Because it involved multiple levels of government bureaucracy, program administration was cumbersome and fractured (Kammen, 1995). Furthermore, the program lacked an adequate budget for consistent monitoring and evaluation so that problems were not detected and corrected early on. Lastly, the program was quickly diluted, being only one of several national campaigns occurring at the time. Presence of a large government subsidy also presented its share of problems. Because the government automatically paid builders for half the cost of stoves, producers incentive for construction was directed more toward the government than toward the needs of the consumer (Barnes et al., 1994). Producers took a less aggressive role in marketing than would private entrepreneurs, and were cued to follow overly-general government specifications for stove construction, rather than tailor stoves to meet the particular needs of the community. Consequently, local stove construction was often hasty and technically faulty. Many stoves did not accommodate the household cooking pot or crumbled under excess heat. In two Indian villages, inadequate training of students (of urban background) resulted in the construction of numerous chimneys that expelled smoke within the house (Sarin and Winblad, 1983). Moreover, many of the stoves simply did not provide the promised savings in household woodfuel consumption. Its very hard to get the critical dimensions for efficiency without highly-trained craftspeople, explained John Lippert of Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA), a US-based development organization involved in stove dissemination until 1987 (Brown, 1985). Similar cookstove projects in areas such as Central America and Nepal, where stoves were constructed from mud, sand and clay by poorly-trained individuals, also attained efficiency and continuation rates much lower than predicted (Barnes et al., 1994). The heavy government subsidy for cookstoves also squelched efforts by private entrepreneurs to disseminate their own improved stoves as they could not compete with the government price. As will be illustrated in the cases of Kenya and China, commercialization of improved stoves is key for long-term, self-sustained cookstove dissemination. Another flaw in the Indian program was its failure to target regions where fuel shortages were especially acute, or where woodfuel was an expensive commodity, such as in urban settings. Many rural households could not afford or were not willing to make even the modest $4 investment, especially if they could gather fuelwood for free; the purchase of a new stove, especially in the eyes of men, did not seem to provide adequate return. Attempting diffusion in impoverished, non-critical zones wasted precious financial resources for Indias cookstove program, and discouraged program implementers (Barnes et al., 1994). In sum, the Indian effort at cookstove diffusion progressed rapidly at first, but, riddled with administrative, technical and marketing mishaps, resulted in poor wide-spread dissemination. By 1990, the average discontinuation rate for improved cookstove use in India was 50 percent -- among the worst globally. Today, approximately one in 40 Indian homes is equipped with an improved woodfuel stove (see Figure C). Nevertheless, faced with worsening population pressures and fuel shortages, India remains determined today that improved chulhas can play an important role in mitigating woodfuel demand. The government has modified its top-down strategy, and has begun to integrate some of the successful aspects of cookstove programs that will be enumerated in the remaining discussions on Kenya and China. Kenya With few domestic sources of energy such as coal or petroleum, approximately 80 percent of Kenyas total energy consumption is in the form of traditional woodfuel (WRD, 1994). With higher rates of total fertility and per capita consumption of traditional woodfuels than either China or India, Kenyas woodfuel crisis risks progressing at a much more rapid pace (see inset of map entitled Total Fertility Rate: Cookstove Countries, and Graph 3). As a proxy measure for fuelwood shortages in Kenyas arid regions Graph 3.
(representing 80 percent of Kenyas total land area) the fuelwood gap in neighboring Sudan illustrates the grave woodfuel situation in arid East Africa (see Table 3): Table 3: Woodfuel Gap Forecasts for Sudan (million cubic meters of tree stock)
1980 1985 1990 1995 2000
1. Forest stock 1994 1810 1539 1145 607 2. Forest growth 44 40 34 25 14 3. Woodfuel consumption 76 88 102 121 141 4. Woodfuel gap (3-2) 32 48 68 96 127 By 1983, rural women in Kenya were traveling on average 3.5 hours per day to collect wood. Facing high woodfuel prices, but having no cheaper fuel alternative, urban Kenyans spent an estimated 20 percent of their average annual income on household fuel (Kammen, 1995). In the early 1980s, the Kenya Renewable Energy Development Project, a collaborative effort between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Kenyan government, was created. Over the next 15 years, the project used a cyclical refinement process to design and disseminate appropriate cookstoves for Kenya. Their first fuel-efficient stove -- capable of burning both wood and charcoal -- was modeled after an improved metal stove developed in Thailand (Kammen, 1995). Since many Kenyans had traditionally employed metal cookstoves for years (made from scrap metal by local artisans), it was assumed that the switch to the modified Thai Bucket would be a smooth one. After minimal field testing, therefore, this first generation stove was disseminated to villages throughout rural Kenya. Consumer response to this new stove was equivocal. First, the stove had a narrow base, making it unstable for heavy pots, especially with rigorous stirring. Second, the laboratory-designed stove did not match the size of Kenyan pots and pans fitted for the traditional metal stove. Third, the stoves ceramic and vermiculite liner proved too efficient: it retained so much heat that the metal exterior fatigued and structural segments cracked easily (Barnes et al., 1994, Kammen, 1995). Map 2. Furthermore, like India, efforts to diffuse new cookstoves in Kenya were focused in rural areas, where people could ill-afford the initial cash outlay for a stove, and had little monetary incentive to save wood. Early monitoring and evaluation of cookstove projects, however, picked up on the poor diffusion rates much more quickly than in India. Consequently, the Kenya Renewable Energy Development Project began to develop a second generation of cookstoves. Enlisting feedback from womens organizations involved in community health and environmental protection, as well as focus groups from several regions, a new stove, the jiko, was recast in the mid-1980s. The jikos hourglass shape provided greater stability at the base of the stove. Its insulative liner -- extending only within the upper portion of the stove --prevented the overheating and cracking typical of the previous version. Finally, its mouth accommodated a greater variety of pots (Kammen, 1995). Next, the Kenyan cookstove program began working with private craftspeople to ensure on-going, mass production of the jiko. As one analyst described, Project managers debated whether to give the job to the formal or informal sector -- and ultimately decided to involve both, (Chege, 1995). A loose consortium of artisans engaged in traditional stove production was selected to manufacture the metal cladding of the new jiko, and existing pottery companies began producing the more complicated ceramic linings (Chege, 1993; Kammen, 1995). Mass production and competition brought down the price of the jiko, making it affordable to more Kenyans. Finally, surveys were conducted to determine the strongest potential markets for the jiko (Barnes et al., 1995). The stove was targeted specifically for urban dwellers who faced unavoidably high fuel costs and who did not rely on fire for uses other than cooking. The new stove, while costing between $2 and $5 (approximately two to three times as much as the traditional metal stove), provided a total yearly savings of about $64.70, paying for itself in two months (Chege, 1993; Kammen, 1995; Barnes et al., 1994). Moreover, purchase of jikos by highly visible organizations such as schools, businesses and churches helped to spark interest within the general population (Kammen, 1995). Additionally, possession of a new jiko became a symbol of status among lower-income Kenyans, increasing cultural diffusion of this technology throughout and beyond the city. The design changes of Kenyan cookstoves, coupled with new marketing strategies as well as training programs on production, use and maintenance, have made huge strides in the stoves acceptance. Diffusion of the jiko currently stands at approximately 20,000 per month (Chege, 1993). Because of its success, moreover, the jiko has been disseminated in several other East African countries -- Sudan (28,000), Tanzania (54,000), Uganda (25,000) as well as Zambia and Burundi (Kammen, 1995). The diffusion of a third generation of improved cooking device tailored for rural Kenya is currently underway. With the assistance of numerous womens groups in the rural regions (forming an alliance called Maendeleo ya Wanawake -- womens development), government and aid organizations have designed a cheap and simplified version of the jiko -- the Maendeleo (Kammen, 1995)., This innovation is essentially the ceramic portion of the jiko without the metal frame. It is placed directly over an open fire, and accommodates large pieces of wood. (This is a major advantage to rural women, many of whom do not have the tools or inclination to chop wood into fine pieces for small, portable stoves). While less efficient than the jiko (attaining 15 to 35 percent efficiency versus the jikos 20 to 40 percent efficiency), the Maendeleo still requires 25 percent less wood than a three-stone fire, and costs the consumer between $.80 and $1.20 (Kammen, 1995). To be expected, diffusion of improved cookstoves in rural Kenya, as well as in rural India, will progress slowly as long as fuelwood is a free commodity and womens time is not monetized (see Figure B). With increased womens education and entrance into the labor market, however, rural husbands may be more willing to invest in time-saving technology for their wives, knowing that the time they save will be used to earn family income (see map entitled Education of Women...Cookstove Countries). China Chinas motivation for initiating a national cookstove program was rooted less in a concern over fuelwood shortage, and more in a desire to reverse households rapid conversion to coal as their fuel of choice (Smith et al, 1993). With the liberalization of the rural economy in the early 1980s, average family income steadily increased in the countryside, bringing with it a general desire to climb the energy ladder. Mass ascension from woodfuel to coal use caused nation-wide supply shortages of coal, especially to large industry . graph
As part of its strategy to mitigate coal demand, the government devised a plan to disseminate highly-efficient biomass stoves so that woodfuel consumption would become cheaper than coal use. The Chinese National Improved Stoves Program was initiated in 1982. In the following 10 years, over 125 million improved cookstoves and parts reached homes in China; today 7 out of 10 rural households possess stoves that are at least 30% more fuel-efficient than older stoves (World Resources, 1994) making the Chinese program the most successful worldwide (see Chart below). chart The Chinese government played an important but limited role in cookstove dissemination. First, the central government restricted itself to providing up-to-date research on cookstove technology and identifying areas of greatest potential for stove adoption. Local rural energy offices took charge of technical training, implementation, standards for manufacturing production, and program monitoring (Kammen, 1995; Barnes et al., 1994). Second, with direct contracts between the central and county governments, the program bureaucratic entanglement (Barnes et al., 1994). Third, government subsidy of improved stoves was extremely limited ($.84 for every stove costing $9) and was directed toward stove producers -- to provide assistance with construction training, administration, and promotion support -- rather than toward consumers (Barnes et al., 1994). Most rural Chinese, considerably wealthier than their counterparts in Kenya or India, were able to lay down the initial funds for this investment in fuel-efficiency. With design, production and sale of the improved stoves occurring at the ground level, stoves were created to suit the local community. Improved brick and mortar stoves (with accompanying chimney) replaced older models. For those families unable to purchase completely new stoves, insulative parts (such as mortar and ash) were sold as packing around the stoves circular opening where the wok sits (Kammen, 1995). Stoves in the cold Northern States were designed for the dual purpose of cooking and heating. Stove design also took into consideration attractiveness and convenience (Barnes, 1994). Although it began with a custom-built approach, the Chinese cookstove program is gradually moving to mass-production of stove parts, in order to increase profit margins for private manufacturers, as well as reduce the cost to the consumer. This approach, it is hoped, will assist in the long-term sustainability of Chinas cookstove program and allow the improved technology reach the poorer and more remote populations (See Figure A). Conclusion The experiences of India, Kenya and China offer valuable lessons to other countries engaged in cookstove dissemination. First the overwhelming success of Chinas cookstove program, and eventual improvement of the Kenyan effort attest to the fact that fuel-efficient stoves are indeed popular among select populations. Such populations -- usually urban -- already purchase fuel, and thereby stand to benefit directly from fuel-efficiency. In some of the most successful cookstove programs, such as in Kenya and Rwanda, consumer payback for the stove investment has occurred within only a few months (Barnes et al., 1994). Figures A, B, and C. Market surveys should be undertaken before improved stoves are disseminated; as India learned, precious funds should not be wasted on attempting diffusion in regions where it is likely to fail. Low-potential markets typically include impoverished rural areas where fuelwood is still free or accessible, and where fire is used for many purposes other than cooking (such as lighting, heating, smoking meat, and as insect repellent) (Munslow et al., 1988; Barnes et al., 1994). For these populations, separate fuelwood/energy approaches may be necessary, including tree nursery programs, agricultural interventions, and other indirect methods to improve overall economic prospects, to monetize womens labor, and to address land-use management practices (Munslow et al., 1988). Second, to the greatest extent possible, stoves should be modified versions of traditional stoves and should be durable, attractive, and user friendly. Extensive pilot testing, involving the input of actual consumers and local artisans, should precede stove diffusion. Third, as illustrated in China, the government should play an important but narrow role in cookstove dissemination. The national government may provide technical research on cooking technology, and spread knowledge about improved cookstoves (information, education and communication), while local governments see to production quality, and local monitoring and evaluation (Barnes et al., 1994; Munslow, 1988). Government subsidies, as India discovered, usually cause stove producers to neglect consumer needs, resulting in inferior stove quality and less aggressive marketing. Hence they should be avoided, or replaced with opportunities to attain credit for the purchase of a stove. Donor agencies may also assist in the above-mentioned roles, but only if their support is sustained (at lease 5 years) and coordinated with other public and private cookstove diffusion efforts (Barnes et al., 1994). Finally, for long-term success, commercial enterprises involving local experts should become the primary producers and disseminators of cookstoves. As with the Kenyan program, mass producing stoves and their parts, as well as using local scrap material, helps to lower costs. Conversely, mass campaigns and folk construction to disseminate cookstoves, as Indias program illustrated, are not conducive to the sustained production of high-quality stoves. Applied to similar projects in other countries, these lessons may further the rebound of cookstove dissemination throughout the developing world.
APPENDIX bar chart Improved cookstoves in Kenya, Chaina and India
Improved Stoves Efficiency (%) Cost ($US) Dissemination
Jiko 25-40 $2 to $5 1 million plus Maendeleo 15 -35 $.80 to $1.20 100,000 Chinese brick and mortar 20-40 $8 to $9 125 million Indian mud & clay chulha 10-40 $8 to $10 8 million
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