| Boiling Point No. 23 - December 1990 |
Being one of Boiling Point's most avid readers and staunch supporters, I was a bit surprised by the drawing on page 12 of Issue No. 21. The drawing illustrated, very well in fact, some of the benefits and costs associated with stoves.
The benefits included employment and training for the man: safety from burns for the child and general benefits - cleaner air in the kitchen, trees saved and less money spent on fuel.
What surprised me was that there was no reference at all made to the main user of stoves and one of the potential beneficiaries of improved stoves - the woman. I realize that as men are often stovemakers and even, very occasionally stoves users, all illustrations concerning stoves do not necessarily have to include a woman. However, in this case there was only the one picture accompanying the article. (And what's more, even the baby looks like a male!).
If we are serious about including users in the various stages of stove development work, I believe it is essential to keep women's current and potential roles firmly in mind and in view of that, to ensure that they are not overlooked in one of the few domains where their input is acknowledged.
Anne Sefu, Morogoro Fuelwood Stove Project Tanzania
With regard to the article printed in the last issue of Boiling Point, "Bellerive Develops Bakery Oven for Kenya~, we would like to give further credit to those individuals at the Woodburning Stove Group, the University of Eindhoven and particularly Mr Jan Testeg, who are responsible for the original design from which the Bellerive oven was derived. Mr Testeg is currently working with the Diocese of Nakuru where he has built between 20 and 30 units. Modifications were made to the design by the Bellerive technical team, following surveys of small bakeries in the rural areas where it was targeted for use.
C Davey Regional Director Bellerive Foundation
Congratulations for your Boiling Point No.22 with joint edition of ITDG and GATE/GTZ. Closer cooperation with GATE/GTZ augurs well for firewood economy in developing countries. This is a rejoicing event and I welcome the GTZ presence in your publication. It strengthens also your paper as a world forum for discussion on firewood conservation. Having this in mind I would like to raise a few points which came to my mind while reading the last two issues of your paper. In particular, I noted three articles on building of bread ovens and some interesting remarks in letters to the editor. In addition I read an excellent study on "Experiments on a Woodfired Bakery Oven", prepared in July of this year by E. Schutte, K Krishna Prasad, and C. Nieuwvelt of the Eindhoven University. This, it seems to me, shows the renewed interest for bread ovens in developing countries. As I have been actively involved in this domain for many years I would like to voice some questions for consideration of bread oven builders.First, baked bread has been always a traditional food item in Europe. Are there valid reasons to introduce, promote (if not to impose) this food item in countries of different dietary habits which have not always grain necessary for its production? Second, bread is fuel intensive product. In most of developing countries there is an acute shortage of firewood. Efforts to diminish wood consumption for cooking only have not brought, so far tangible results. In this situation is there a reason to introduce bread baking which calls for considerable consumption of wood. Third, for whom are we designing bread ovens?. Certainly not for the poor. The designs suggested are difficult to produce and very expensive. The rich do not need experimental bread ovens. Fourth, the real judges of bread ovens are not technicians but qualified bakers.
Fifth, the authors of the Eindhoven study, mentioned above, describe the construction and testing of the laboratory oven.
They rightly state "Extensive baking tests are planned to be carried out with the full size oven", (p.5). Yet, reading Boiling Point No.22, it seems that a similar model is already promoted in Kenya by Dutch experts. If this is so, one may ask whether it is not too early to do so. One may find replies to some of those questions in the interesting article of Mr Jurgen Usinger on Bakery Programme for Afghan Refugees in No.22 of your Boiling Point. Introduction of fuel saving ovens has been thoroughly justified there as flat breads, called "nans" are staple and traditional food for Afghans and Pakistanis, grain locally available, firewood shortage severe and models of oven introduced adopted to local skills and baking habits. Cost of production has been practically reduced to cost of clay, bricks and local labour. Ovens give entire satisfaction.While I agree with the article and congratulate the author for his work, I wish to draw his attention to the fact that the project did not start in 1985, as he stated but in September 1983 under the auspices of UNHCR/Bellerive Foundation. The team which started the project was composed of Mr Pierre Delacretaz, Mr Emil Haas and myself. Read also with interest the article of Mr Heinz Schneiders on "Promotion of the Duma Institutional Wood Stoves in Tanzania". Mr Schneiders is probably not aware of the introduction of community stoves in the neighbouring Kenya, of the same design as the present Duma ones and built by Emil Haas and myself in January 1983.
Waclaw Micuta President Renewable Energy Development Institute, (REDI)
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As a result of a large number of interesting articles and papers received on the theme of M& E, several articles of a more technical nature have had to be held over to our next edition.
Burden of energy shortages falls on rural children
Rural and Urban Energy Linkages, reproduced from "Wood Energy News" December 1989, Bangkok. In the past, the development of forest resources did not get adequate attention in national development programmes of Bangladesh. As a result, the country was deprived of the potential benefits from forest lands and due to the unchecked extraction practices, the condition of the forests deteriorated during these years.To overcome this situation, a separate ministry, the Ministry of Forestry and Environment was established for the overall development of forest resources and for improvement of the natural environment of the country. Besides village forest projects and government's agreement on preparing a Forestry Master Plan in the near future, an important decision of the Ministry in July 1989, was to ban the use of fuelwood for brick burning. Brick producers had to replace fuelwood by natural gas or other conventional energy. Although fuelwood for brick burning amounted to only 2.4% of total biomass consumption in 1981, it represented more than 14% of the total fuelwood consumption. As fuelwood is the main type of biomass traded within production area, this was an important step to curb over exploitation of tree resources in rural areas. The rural-urban and urban-rural energy transfer almost balance with a slight surplus in the rural-urban energy transfer. However, energy transferred from urban to rural areas is of better quality than the other way around. The former consists of kerosene for lighting, diesel for irrigation pumps, electricity for irrigation and lighting, fertiliser, which has the largest share in the energy balance (78%).Energy transferred from rural to urban areas consists of lower grade biomass fuels, mainly fuelwood. As more than 50% of the urban households are using fuelwood together with many urban industries, the importance of the fuelwood trade becomes very clear. While village forests are over exploited, the less accessible Chittagong Hill Tracts forests are sub-optimally used. Therefore, in the Third Five Year Plan it is stated that Bangladesh should strive to a balanced, efficient and economic use of new and renewable energy sources.
Although the budget allocation for the forestry sector is only a fraction of that for the energy sector and so not in relation with contribution, the Government of Bangladesh is increasingly showing a strong commitment to preserving its natural resources by all kind of afforestation programmes and stimulating substitution and checking the unrestricted fuelwood use.
Source: Dr Nurul Islam Director Institute of Appropriate Technology