Promoting Biomass Efficient Stoves

SIRP - Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme > News > Promoting Biomass Efficient Stoves

Promoting Biomass Efficient Stoves

  • Posted by: Precious Nkomo
IMG 20200812 WA0016

Almost 74% of Zimbabwes population relies on biomass for cooking. The heavy dependency on biomass has huge implications for environment, gender, health, and poverty alleviation. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Zimbabwe lost an annual average of 327,000 hectares of forests between 1990 and 2010. In addition, women walk long  distance collect firewood.

With so many communities relying on biomass,  biomass efficient stoves  can make a significant difference.  According to a study by FAO biomass-efficient stove reduces wood consumption by about 60 percent and charcoal consumption by 80 percent. This means that an average household saves about 730 kg of wood yearly[1].

As part of natural resource management SIRP is promoting the use of Tsotso stoves. The programme trained 60 farmers in construction and management of the energy efficient Tsotso stove. The objectives of the training were

  1. To minimise farmers’ dependence on forest resources by reducing the amount of firewood required to meet their household needs through the use of fuel-efficient stoves.
  2. Promote, demonstrate and disseminate energy efficient stove technology
  3. Improve beneficiaries incomes and job creation through stove production.
  4. Improve beneficiaries living conditions by reducing emission of hazardous smoke

What is a Tsotso Stove

The tsotso stove, is a specially designed open clay pot with openings at its sides where you put little sticks of wood to make a fire.  Tsotso is vernacular word for small sticks.  It is these little sticks that are used to cook a meal to feed a whole family.   The combustion system is extremely efficient and the stove effectively burn small pieces of wood, and other waste. The advantages of tsotso stove include

  • Reduction in firewood consumption
  • Its insulated combustion chamber reduces smoke while increasing the heat output and burning efficiency.
  • It is stable and portable;
  • Reduces the amount of time required to gather firewood thus reducing women’s workload
  • Reduces energy cost.  A bundle of the sticks can potentially cook approximately 6 to 10 meals, saving energy and labor in the process.
  • The stove can be used whilst standing (instead kneeling) which is resulting in more men being willing to use it, as kneeling is traditionally done only by women.


Author: Precious Nkomo

Leave a Reply