Mr Charles Kwame Dondieu, Chief Director of the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry, has charged stakeholders to fast track the implementation of the Clean Cooking Project aimed at mitigating climate change.
He said the clean cooking project was not only easy to use, smokeless, but also environmental and protect against health threat current methods of cooking posed to mankind.
Mr Dondieu was speaking during the launch of the clean cooking pilot project in the Ellembelle District in the Western Region being rolled-out by the World Bank Ghana, ENI, Vitol and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
The project, which seeks to identify sustainable models for enhancing the demand, strengthening supply and expanding access to clean cooking solutions through market approaches would be implemented in 10 communities in the district assembly and would benefit 13,000 people.
Speaking on behalf of Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, he said “As a country, it is important that we take this programme seriously because of the immense benefits associated with clean cooking by using clean stove and clean energy.”
He said a recent survey indicated that over 70 percent of Ghanaians, especially, those in the rural and peri-urban areas rely on wood fuel or charcoal for cooking in their homes or on commercial purposes which posed health threats on them as well as others.
In addition, 15 percent of women, mainly in the rural areas spent a lot of time in gathering firewood and producing sugar charcoal either for domestic use or export.
Mr Dondieu said three billion people in the developing world were exposed to smoke from traditional cook stoves and open fires, adding that the practice caused four million premature deaths annually of which 17,000 were Ghanaians.
He said we needed to hasten efforts towards developing more sustainable plans that would reduce the excessive use of wood fuel and charcoal in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 7, which enjoins Ghana to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy service for all which would be addressed by clean cooking intervention.
In achieving this, there was the need to carefully identify options that were sustainable, all inclusive, affordable and easily accessible to the rural people by developing clean stove technologies that were in relation with the traditional stoves and later migrate to complex ones.
The Chief Director called on the producers of stoves to sensitise beneficiaries, build capacity of other stakeholders, attract private investors and work with the school feeding programme by supplying large quantity of the stoves to the matrons.
He pledged the Ministry unflinching support to make the programme a success, noting that the Ministry of Energy and Energy Commission had put in measures in place to monitor the entire value chain of the wood industry from production, transportation, distribution, marketing and export of wood fuel in Ghana.
Mr Kwasi Bonzoh, District Chief Executive of Ellembelle, the project pilot area, called on the project implementers to produce the stoves in the area when the pilot was over to keep the people employed.
He explained it would mitigate the negative impact of oil production in the area, which had dislocated economic activities, coupled with high cost of living.
Awulae Amihere Kpanyinli III, Paramount Chief of the Eastern-Nzema Traditional Area, Atuabo in launching the Project said it was timely and would be supported to ensure other areas in the country would benefit.
Mr Kwasi Sarpong, the Regional Manager for West Africa at the Clean Cooking Alliance assured that it would align to the standards of the Energy Commission in the course of their work.
The launch brought together technocrats, researchers, traditional leaders, representatives from public institutions, among other stakeholders.