This paper seeks to understand household cooking practices and the decisions that are made about energy options
This working paper by the Stockholm Environment Institute seeks to understand household cooking practices and the decisions that are made about energy options. The aim is to show the way for the communities to use clean energy. It also seeks to identify political, financial, cultural, social, logistical, ergonomic or other barriers that might prevent people from switching over to improved cook stoves.
The paper first discusses about traditional use of biomass and its impact on the environment. Following which it draws attention to the trends and patterns of energy consumption in the country as a whole. The impact of using biomass energy on health of women is also highlighted. In the next section of the paper the authors spell out government policies related to energy consumption.
A brief description about the initiatives taken by government, local and international NGOs to introduce improved cooking technologies is given in the next section. The paper then goes on to elaborates on the objectives, research questions and the research methodology used to carry out the study.
The results of the household survey first describes different types of fuels that are used, the way they are produced or collected and then discusses about the profile of the stove use, which specifically talks about the usage of ‘chulhas’. In the next section of the paper the authors discuss about the way the field data was first categorised and then analysed. In the discussion section of the paper the implications for India’s National Biomass Cookstove Initiative is discussed.
The final section of the paper states that it is important to understand the broader context regarding fuel availability and its use as it is central to identify users’ needs. The findings also challenge the commonly held assumptions about biomass users and their desires. Further the research indicate a range of social, cultural and financial factors that influence the way people make decisions about energy and cooking, including the availability and flexibility of traditional fuels, the type of dishes prepared, the taste of food, problems with smoke, the aesthetic appeal of stoves, and how users perceive alternatives.