Deforestation is a major problem in Malawi because wood and charcoal are the main sources of fuel for cooking. Fuel efficient stoves provide a practical alternative to traditional cooking methods.
Fuel efficient stoves have many benefits. Households that use them:
- spend less money on firewood
- spend less time finding firewood
- protect their health by producing less cooking smoke
- help prevent deforestation
- protect natural resources
- protect habitats of plants and animals.
There are many designs of fuel efficient stoves. The clay stove pictured below directs the heat to the pot, resulting in faster cooking. Stoves can be made entirely with local resources and are cheap to produce.
Fuelless cookers can be used to further reduce the use of firewood. Just cook a pot of rice for five minutes or a pot of beans for 20 minutes on a clay stove, then place the hot pot inside a basket insulated with shredded banana leaves or straw until the rice or beans have finished cooking.
Andre Van Woerden works for Emmanuel International, an organisation which makes and promotes fuel efficient clay stoves in Malawi.
EDITOR’S NOTE The article ‘Cooking without fuel’ in Footsteps 16 shows how to make your own fuelless cooker.