|Boiling Point No. 18 - April 1989 (Intermediate Technology Development Group , 1989)|
by ITEESA - Tsinghua University - July 1988 (Editorial Review)
This paper appears to be reporting on assessment of the position of stove diffusion throughout the country. It is dated July 1988 even though the project "has been carried out since May 1988". In fact it deals with data from 1982 onwards and states that detailed field investigation has been carried out in 4 countries.
The Topography of Four Pilot Countries
1. Zunhua, Hebei Province
2. Wuhua, Guangdong Province
3. Fonghua, Shanghai
4. Jiangjing, Sichuan Province
The field investigation will collect the following types of information; county level organisation county level research and development means and cost of producing traditional and improved stoves attitudes of users to stoves and fuels amount and type of fuel used and savings subsidies
Investigations will be by interviews and questions in 300 households. National Standard thermal efficiency tests and other tests will be carried out on 20 stoves per county. For those of us accustomed to looking at stove project reports from Africa or South East Asian countries the statistics are overwhelming in their scale "14 million new stoves per year". The reader is continually asking how such figures can be obtained and in consequence, how reliable can they be eg "A total of 85,380 improved firewood stoves were built accounting for 92.7% of the total peasant households and averaging 20 yuan for each stove. They could save 100 kilo tons of firewood or 6 million yuan. It can, therefore, be calculated that the direct economic returns of the saving firewoods have totalled 3,900 million yuan throughout our country. It can be said 'investment less, return quick"'.
"The ecological benefits are also evident. Dingxi County of Gansu Province is located in a serious arid area on the loess plateau in northwest China. Formerly the peasants had to fell trees and uproot grass indiscriminately on the mountains because of lack of fuel. The result was that the natural vegetation was seriously destroyed and the percentage of forest coverage dropped to 8.2%. The soil erosion was also serious and natural calamities occurred frequently. In the period of 1949 to 1983, 23 disasters happened, averaging once every 1.4 years. From September 1983 to the end of 1985 the county popularized the improved firewood stoves in 61,435 peasant households or 97% of the country's total. The problem of fuel shortages was basically solved in the rural areas. The percentage of forest coverage has somewhat picked up and soil erosion was in the main brought under control. The drought became less serious year after year and the agricultural ecological balance was initially restored. In 1985 the per mu grain yield went up from less than 50 kgs in the past to 64.2 kgs, registered an increase of about 30%".
'The application of the improved firewood stoves has shortened the cooking time. The kitchen is clean and kept in sanitary condition. They are well received by the peasants, especially by rural women".
The report then goes on "The diffusion and demonstration of the improved firewood stoves in the pilot counties has also met with obstacles and some problems still exist. In Xiaguanyinge village of Dengta County, Liaoning province, 12 peasant households were surveyed in which only three peasant households, or 25% said that the improved firewood is easy to burn; four peasant households or 33.3% have improved their stoves but afterwards they pulled down the stoves; 5 peasant households or 41.6% wanted to use their old-fashioned stoves. Some pilot counties only paid attention merely to fulfilling their annual targets and built the stoves in a simple and stingy way. The quality of those handmade stoves was bad because of low technical level. The heat efficiency and their performance differed greatly. The type of stoves was monotonous and could not fit in with local habits of the peasants, so they were not easily operated and were not well received by the peasant households. Another factor which should not be neglected is the peasants old traditional concept. In remote rural areas, the firewood stoves are regarded by them as "Kitchen God", and any changes of the stoves are not tolerated". Nevertheless, it continues "The Chinese Government has worked out a development plan for these new fashioned stoves. It is demanded that 60 to 70% of the total peasant households should use the improved firewood stoves throughout the country by 1990. This means that annually an additional 14 million peasant households should use the new stoves".
It would be interesting to see an evaluation of the Chinese stove programme by the Indian National Stove Programme and vice versa.