Impacts of fuel wood scarcity and coping strategies among rural households in Lurambi District, Kakamega County, Kenya
Waudo, Stacey Nawanjaya
MetadataShow full item record
Rural households in Kenya are highly dependent on fuel wood for their energy needs. High population growth, deforestation at 20% (4061 ha degraded out of a possible 19792 ha according to the Kakamega forest management plan) combined with agricultural expansion has served to deepen the fuelwood crisis causing a considerable gap in demand and supply of fuelwood. This study, carried out in Lurambi District, Kakamega County examined factors contributing to fuelwood scarcity, its imapcts and coping starategies among rural houesholds.The study targeted households that were adversely affected and use with the resource on a daily basis. Questionnaires were administered to 200 randomly selected households between January and March 2012. An interview schedule was used for key informants. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for frequencies, percentages and cross tabulation. The findings of the study revealed that fuelwood is a dominant source of energy among 95% households in Lurambi with 84% of the households experienced fuelwood scarcity. The sources of fuelwood include the Kakamega forest and on farm sources. Deforestation, Government restriction towards accesing the Kakamega forest, restricted access to communal collection points cited by 52.5% of the households, privatization of land and reducing land sizes have contributed to fuelwood scarcity. The unavailability of fuelwood has had a negative impact on livelihoods particulary on women in terms of time and resources spent in the collection of fuelwood. Coping mechanisms include temporary switching to alternative fuels, use of energy saving stoves and minimal use of fuelwood in a bid to conserve the resource. Woodlots were observed in a few of the farms but was not considered a priority among the households as the emphasis was on agriculture. In conlcusion socio economic and environmental factors have an impact on fuelwood scarcity and that various coping strategies are employed in adopting to fuelwood scarity which are not sustainable in the long term. Recommendations inculde collaboration between the community and Government on benefit sharing within the forest, designation of communal collection points, sustained woodfuel production projects and introduction of affordable alternatives to the community.