Drivers of cooking energy choices by meal-types among smallholder farmers in western Kenya

  • F.M. Mwaura Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, University of Eldoret, Eldoret, Kenya
  • M. Ngigi Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management, Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya
  • G. Obare Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management, Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya
Keywords: biomass; subsistence; environment; transition; poverty, Southern Africa


There are gaps in research needed to enhance policy intervention for rural households’ transitions from traditional biomass to cleaner energy sources. This paper reports on a survey among farmers in western Kenya to assess drivers of cooking energy choices for various key meals; to understand agricultural production factors in cooking energy choices; and to assess energy use homogeneity among varied sub-counties. The study sampled 388 respondents from four heterogeneous rural sub-counties differing in altitude, proximity to public forests, and cultural characteristics. The multinomial logit model analysis showed that significant factors influencing the shift from firewood to LPG for breakfast preparation included access to credit, income, formal employment, and the proportion of adults in the household. Shifting from firewood to crop wastes was significant, influenced by distance covered to collect firewood, and desire for warming houses. The shift from firewood to sticks was influenced by firewood cost, houses owned, and reliance on own farm for woodfuel. Determinants of cooking energy choices for breakfast, lunch and supper were identical. Sticks were seen as an inferior cooking energy source. The adoption of cleaner energy was more associated with breakfast than other meals. Despite the sub-counties’ heterogeneity, no substantial differences were observed among them on drivers of cooking energy choices. Study outcomes were consistent with other concepts associated with cooking energy usage, including the transition energy ladder and energy stacking.


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