Trees on farms could satisfy household’s firewood needs

In Kenya, like many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), over 90 % of the rural population relies on firewood to provide heating and cooking energy. Currently households, and in particular, women farmers, spend precious time collecting firewood from local forests to keep their families warm and fed. At the same time, critics of firewood use would like to see the health issues associated with indoor cooking reduced. Smoke in the kitchen kills. The answer is a combination of adequate ventilation, drying firewood well and strategic use of efficient cook-stoves to reduce smoke, save fuel and decrease dangerous exposure. Agroforestry, a better alternative: Pruning multipurpose trees on farms such as happens with timber and fruits can provide households with an affordable and convenient source of firewood. It would also reduce the time, human energy and money that now goes into collecting firewood from off-farm locations such as forests. Firewood as a cooking and heating energy allows people to cook food, boil water and warm their houses. Lack of affordable and convenient cooking and heating energy negatively impacts on human wellbeing -nutrition, health, workload on women and the girl children and the environment. Agroforestry presents an opportunity to satisfy household needs in an affordable and environmentally sustainable way.