Kudzai Mushave Centre News Reporter

Zimbabweans have been urged to use clean sources of energy for cooking such as biogas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to replace firewood as a way to conserve the environment and protect the atmosphere from the damages of greenhouse gas emissions that are behind the vagaries of climate change such as the current Elnino induced drought.

Speaking during a consultative workshop on  Clean Cooking policy being drafted by the Ministry of Energy and Power Development (MOEPD) with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at a local hotel in Masvingo recently, Dr Sosten Ziuku, the director of Renewable Energy said, encouraged rural villagers who are part of 61.2% of the country population that use firewood for cooking to switch to clean energy sources that are sustainable in the their locality such as biogas produced from cow dung.

“We encourage Zimbabweans particularly in the rural areas to switch to the use of clean energy to embrace clean cooking like Bio gas which they can easily get from their domestic animals as a way to save the country from deforestation and air pollution which are proponents of climate change, “said Ziuku

According to the draft Clean cooking policy baseline survey being crafted by the Ministry, 61, 2% of Zimbabweans still use firewood for cooking while 52% in urban areas use LPG, 40.4% use electricity and 9% bio gas.

With climate change advocacy on the peak across the globe, MOEPD and UNDP jointly advocated for the use of clean energy backed by modern technology while also embracing traditional methods that preserve and conserve the environment.

 The main aim of the consultation meetings was to unpack the strategy, gather feedback from critical stakeholders in creating a sustainable clean cooking strategy.

Speaking at the same meeting, Environmental Management Agency (EMA), Provincial Manager, Milton Muusha, highlighted that strategic goals of the consultative meetings were centered on developing a common definition of clean cooking in Zimbabwe, strengthen laws and policies to promote clean cooking, research and diversify clean cooking fuels.
 “We need to support local manufacturing of clean cooking technologies as well as effective data collection on clean cooking. The consultative meeting brought out to light a situation analysis of clean cooking sector in Zimbabwe whilst highlighting important factors that are necessary to the baseline study, hence the need now to go out and preach the pros of turning to clean energy use in cooking,” Muusha added.

As the devastating effects of El Nino heavily affect parts of Southern African countries like  Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively,  MOEPD is unpacking a Clean Cooking Strategy via provincial meeting consultations through out the country, which are aimed at creating a sustainable clean cooking system in Zimbabwe.

The cornerstone goals of the consultative meetings were anchored on developing a common definition of clean cooking in Zimbabwe.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), Masvingo Provincial Secretary, Jowero Mukusha, argued that there is need to strengthen laws and policies that encourage consumers to appreciate the need to switch from traditional harmful energy sources like firewood to modern technological forms.

“The consultative meetings also brought to light a situation analysis of clean cooking sector in Zimbabwe whilst highlighting important factors that are important factors that are necessary to save the environment from the greenhouse gas emissions that affects the ozone layer leading to climate change, hence the need to sensitize consumers,” Mukusha said.

However some stakeholders at the meeting said a lot has to be done to enable unemployed rural areas folks to switch to clean energy since they are expensive and costly to them when they have no sustainable sources of income.

Community in Actions Platform (CAP),  a local human rights led organizations said government should move to improve sources of income for the rural folks to ensure that they afford and embrace the costs of new energy sources needed in switching to clean cooking.