Farmer innovation driven by needs and understanding: building the capacities of farmer groups for improved cooking stove construction and continued adaptation uri icon


  • Enhancing food security is one of the main goals of subsistence farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study investigates the implementation of improved loam-made cooking stoves and its contribution to coping and livelihood strategies. Controlled combustion, air as well as smoke flue, and heat insulation facilitate the more efficient fuel consumption of improved cooking stoves compared to traditional stoves-namely three stone fires. Although the majority of small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa rely on the free public good of firewood, the increasing time needed for collecting firewood implies high opportunity costs for productive members of the family. The primary outcomes for users of improved stoves are reduced fuel consumption, greater safety, saved time, and reduced smoke in the kitchen.
  • The paper illustrates part of the output, outcome, and impact of a participatory action research approach for implementing improved cooking stoves. Special emphasis was put on enabling the villagers to construct their stoves without external support, hence having locally manufactured stoves made of mud, bricks, and dried grass. The impact pathway of improved cooking stoves followed the training-of-trainers concept, where members of the initially established farmer groups were trained to construct stoves on their own. Special focus was given to knowledge exchange and knowledge transfer in order to increase firewood efficiency and overall satisfaction of users of improved cook stoves. Encouraging the members to further adapt the stoves enabled them to scale-up the construction of improved cooked stoves into a business model and increase dissemination while creating income. Although many important benefits, like time and knowledge gain, were identified by the farmers after adoption of the new technology, we found adoption rates differed significantly between regions.

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017