Analysis of Cooking Fuel Demand Patterns among Rural Farm Households in Kiambu County, Kenya
Kago, Elizabeth Wangui
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Cooking fuel energy is an important element in the daily livelihood of households where majority depend on fuel wood which’s readily available for energy sources. However, these natural resources experience degradation occasioned by the growing population causing an imbalance in the demand and supply. Therefore, it has decreased fuel wood availability and accessibility thus fuel scarcity making it expensive to acquire which has led households to use alternative sources of fuel. For this reason, there’s a dilemma between meeting the growing demand for fuel energy and the sustainable utilization of the limited stock of natural resources. Due to a significance disruption of bio-diversity, it has led to many households depending on the market (prices) as their main source of fuel. More so, there’s use of multiple fuel which is influenced by income and other factors. Price volatility as well as income vulnerability significantly affect household consumption patterns. Hence, this study aimed at investigating the influence of household characteristics on energy demand, determining the impact of income changes on household energy demand patterns and identifying the energy demand patterns for fuel used by households to address the persistent problem of fuel insecurity. Guided by neoclassical demand of consumer behavior, Quadratic Almost Ideal Demand System (QUAIDS) was used for analysis. Data was collected from 200 respondents using systematic random sampling. Analysis was done using STATA version 13 to obtain descriptive statistics and the empirical results. The results indicated that firewood, charcoal and kerosene are necessary goods while LPG was a luxury. Expenditure elasticity for the fuels were positive implying that the fuels were normal goods and an increase in income will lead to higher consumption. The main determinants of energy demand were gender, education level and occupation of the household head as well as age and household size. It is recommended that government and other stakeholders formulate income oriented policies to augment household earnings which will increase their purchasing power. Furthermore, the government should enact policies to ensure LPG is affordable with a view to mitigate against environmental degradation. Additionally, capacity building by educating both the old and young by giving information on the negative impacts of using such fuel and the benefits derived when the public switch to modern fuels. Besides, strategies are needed to identify affordable, scalable and accessible efficient fuel-saving cooking practices to the local context.