TZ heightens effort to use clean energy   

WITH majority of Tanzanians using firewood and charcoal as the main source of energy for cooking, the Ministry of Energy is organising a Clean Cooking Conference that will address the barriers to and increase the penetration of modern cooking solutions in the country.

Speaking to journalists on Wedesday, the Minister of Energy, Mr January Makamba, said President Samia Suluhu Hassan is expected to grace the two-day conference slated for November 1 and 2 this year in Dar es Salaam.

According to the Minister, participants at the conference are expected to review and put forward strategies for achieving affordable, clean, and reliable cooking solutions in Tanzania.

The conference which will be held at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) will bring together policymakers, development partners, entrepreneurs, investors, donors, academicians, and the general public.

Available data shows that 63.5 per cent of the households in the country use firewood as the main source and 26.2 per cent use charcoal for cooking.

Only a fraction of the population at 5.1 per cent use Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as a source of cooking, while 3 per cent use electricity. The figures show that 2.2 per cent use other sources of energy.

“Cooking is one of the few activities that unite us at all levels of society and yet most Tanzanians are unaware of, or they don’t question the type of fuel used to cook the food we eat every day,” he stated.

Mr Makamba expounded that the use of firewood and charcoal for cooking is attributed to an array of acute health problems including respiratory infections, chronic pulmonary diseases, and perinatal and infant mortality.

“Some 33,000 people die prematurely every year in Tanzania from illnesses attributable to household air pollution. Women and children are the vulnerable groups in this case,” the minister explained.

Speaking at the news conference, Dr Pauline Chale, a medical expert on respiratory illnesses from Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) remarked; “We treat patients affected by the use of firewood and charcoal in what we call the biomass fuel effect.

“Their treatment tends to be long term and so they consume more resources that could have been used to treat other patients,” the medical expert remarked.

A move to clean energy use for cooking is not only part of Tanzania’s national obligation as per Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) goal number 7, but also the National Energy Policy of 2015.

The national policy directs the government to enable equal access to safe, affordable and modern energy for cooking.

Mr Makamba said the government has allocated 500m/- to facilitate more rapid adoption of clean and reliable energy.

He said in recognition of the need for action to be taken, the ministry was motivated to organise the conference to facilitate national dialogue.

According to Mr Makamba, Tanzania is one of the countries in the world with the lowest use of clean energy for cooking at between 4 and 5 per cent, expressing optimism that the goal is to increase the percentage to 80 per cent in 10 years.

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