Navrongo (U/E), July 20, GNA – The Kassena-Nankana Municipal Assembly and the Kassena-Nankana West District Assembly in the Upper East Region have pledged to mainstream clean energy for cooking into their Medium Term Development Plan.
Following advocacy programmes embarked upon by the Organization for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS), an environment focused Non-Governmental Organization, the aforementioned MDAs pledged to prioritize clean energy for cooking.
Speaking at separate forums organized at Navrongo and Paga by the NGO, the Municipal Planning Officer for the Kassena-Municipal, Mr Andani Iddrisu, thanked the NGO for drawing the attention of the MDAs to the problem and stressed that his outfit would ensure that the area was given special attention in the planning and implementation process of the assembly.
He expressed the hope that the promotion of clean energy for cooking systems such as Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and improved cooking stoves would help address environmental degradation, mitigate climate change and also help curb diseases like cough and lung cancers often associated with traditional cooking in the area.
The two District Planning Officers commended SNV, the Netherlands Development Organization for providing funding support for the implementation of ‘Voice for Change Partnership Project’ which is aimed at implementing the clean energy components including LPG and other improved cooking stoves.
During the open forum sessions, the participants who included Assembly Members, District Planning Officers, District Gender Desk Officers, Area Councils Chairs and Traditional rulers, said among the major factors that discouraged many people from patronizing the improved cooking systems was the lack of accessibility, affordability, efficiency and sustainability of the products.
‘The benefits of fuel subsidies are hardly enjoyed by the target group as LPG is used by commercial vehicles and Kerosene adulterated is with diesel and sold for the price of diesel. The high cost of the cooking stoves and accessories and safety concerns in the case of LPG are also among the major factors that discourage many people from adapting to the improved energy cooking systems’
The participants called on government to subsidize the clean energy cooking systems and ensure that they reached all rural areas so that more would benefit from its use.
They said the current retail model of LPG supply would not ensure increased use of the product throughout the country and stressed the need for it to be repackaged in either water dispenser or Coca Cola retail model and made available in shops for people to patronize.
The participants further proposed that, those who could not afford cleaner fuels, be encouraged to use the local energy resources in an efficient and sustainable manner by using modern methods such as improved technologies and techniques.
They called for the total removal of subsidies on LPG saying that money could be used to support LPG devices and accessories to make them affordable.
They also called for the institutionalization of a National Policy to regulate charcoal production, provide alternative livelihoods, tree planting and reforestation and more education on the use of LPG.
Mr Julius Awaregya, the Coordinator of the NGO, who called on the MDAs to enact by laws on the environment, said a research conducted by his outfit and other partners in some selected communities in the two Districts revealed that many women were still using animal droppings and farm residue for cooking.
He assured the stakeholders that all their inputs would be put together and forwarded to the National Development Commission and the Energy Commission to be considered and implemented.
By Samuel Akapule, GNA