OJF  Vol.4 No.1 , January 2014
Coping with Firewood Scarcity in Soroti District of Eastern Uganda
Abstract: This study investigated how rural households cope with firewood scarcity in dryland areas of Eastern Uganda. A household survey was conducted in December 2008 to January 2009, where 490 respondents were randomly interviewed. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were also held with community elders and women. Responses were analyzed both descriptively and qualitatively. Findings indicated that 99% of the households used firewood for cooking with a per capita consumption of 542.32 Kilograms. Commonly used tree species included Combretnum molle (42.7%) and Acacia polyacantha willd (18.2%). Over 78% of the households have a preference for acacia tree species for firewood. In particular, Acacia polyacantha willd (60.3%), Acacia hockii (16.9%) and Combretum collinum (9.6%) were the most preferred tree species. The scarcity of firewood supply was eminent from the average distance (2 ± 7 Km) traveled by collectors in search of them. Firewood collectors spent 1 to 10 hours with an average of 3 hours weekly in firewood collection activities. This resulted in per annum estimated opportunity cost of Shillings 432,000 (US 232 dollars) for those who collected on weekly basis and Shillings 1,080,000 shillings (US 580 dollars) for those who collected on daily basis. The frequency of collection decreased as distance increased among 89% of the households. Minority of households (1%) have resorted to deliberately planting trees on their own farms to ease problems of firewood shortage, and to modification of biomass stove so as to use less firewood. Households in their endeavour to circumvent the problem of continued scarcity have resorted to poorer quality tree/bushes for firewood (71.2%), alongside other coping strategies such as cooking meals once a day, avoidance of cooking some food types (70%), and using crop residues as fuel source (60%). There is a need for scaling-up on-farm tree planting as well as the use of improved biomass cook stoves in the region.
Cite this paper: Egeru, A. , Kateregga, E. & Majaliwa, G. (2014). Coping with Firewood Scarcity in Soroti District of Eastern Uganda. Open Journal of Forestry, 4, 70-74. doi: 10.4236/ojf.2014.41011.

[1]   Ahmet, T., Ayahan, A., & Mediha, O. (2008). Usage of trees and forest resources at household level: A case study of Asagi Yumrutas Village from the West Mediterranean Region of Turkey. Research Journal of Forestry, 2, 1-14.

[2]   Birikadde, G. K., Mating, M., & Clancy, J. (2009). Fuel security and supply dynamics in internally displaced persons’ camps of Northern Uganda. Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, April 29.

[3]   Buyinza, M., & Teera, J. (2008). A system approach to fuelwood status in Uganda: A demand-supply nexus. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, 3, 264-275.

[4]   Bowlig, S., & Odeke, M. (2007). Household food security effects of certified organics export production in tropical Africa: A gendered Analysis. Sida: EPOPA.

[5]   Byarunhanga, A., & Kigoolo, S. (2005). Lake Bisina wetland system Ramsar information sheet (RIS). Kampala: Nature Uganda.

[6]   Cooke. P., Hyde, F., & Kohlin, G. (2008). A wood fuel crisis: Where and for whom? (pp. 10-13). Tacoma, WA: Pacific Lutheran University.

[7]   Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (1999). FAO yearbook 1997: Forest products, 1993-1997. FAO Forestry Series, Vol. 32, Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

[8]   Grunzweig, J.M., Lin, T., Rotenberg, E., Schwartz, A., & Yakir, D. (2003). Carbon sequestration in arid-land forest. Global Change Biology, 9, 791-799.

[9]   Gbetnkom, D. (2007). Forest management, gender and food security of the rural poor in Africa (7p). Helsinki: United Nations UniversityWIDER.

[10]   Hasen, B. (1998). Changing patterns of natural wood and resource dependency and use: Inter-generational perceptions, traditions and customs. A case study of Bushbuckridge District, Mpumalanga Province South Africa. Unpublished MA Thesis, Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen.

[11]   Kalumian, O. S., & Kisakye, R. (2001). Study on the establishment of a sustainable charcoal production and licensing system in Masindi and Nakosongola District. EPED Project, Kampala: Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment, 17, 78p.

[12]   Kubasu, L. N. (2007). Improved biomass stoves improving livelihoods among displaced cattle rustling population in North Rift Kenya. Presentation—Beyond Fuel Conference, India, North Rift Kenya: Mwafrika Institute of Development (MID).

[13]   Li, A., Guangming, H., Zai, L., & Jianguo, L. (2006). Impacts of demographic and socio-economic factors on spatio-temporal dynamics of panda habitat. Biodivserity and Conservation, 15, 2343-2363.

[14]   Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MFPED) (2000). Background to the budget 2000-2001 (10p). Kampala: Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development.

[15]   Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) (2005). Anual report. Kampala: Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

[16]   Nabinta, R. T., Yahaya, M. K., & Olajide, B. R. (2007). Rural energy exploitation and utilization on sustainable development in Gomber State, Nigeria. Journal of Social Sciences, 15, 205-211.

[17]   Nafula, J. (2008). Saving money and the environment with efficient stoves. Daily Monitor (M2: Features), November 26, Kampala Uganda.

[18]   National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) (2007). State of the environment report for Uganda (78p). National Environment Management Authority.

[19]   National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) (1998). State of the environment report for Uganda. Kampala: NEMA.

[20]   Okori, A., Emuria, M., & Ojuman, P. (2002). Uganda participatory poverty assessment process. Soroti District Report, Kampala: CDRN, MFPED.

[21]   Soroti District Environment Report (DSER) (1997). District state of the environment report for Soroti. Soroti: Soroti District Local Government.

[22]   Soroti District Environment Report (DSER) (2004). District state of the environment report for Soroti. Soroti: Soroti District Local Government.

[23]   Sikei, G., Mburu, J., & Lagat, J. (2009). Rural households’ response to fuelwood scarcity around Kakamega Forest, Western Kenya (pp. 7-8). Nairobi: African Research Consortium.

[24]   Tabuti, J. R. S., Dhillion, S. S., & Lye, K. A. (2003). Fuelwood use in Bulamogi County in Uganda: Species selection, harvesting and consumption patterns. Biomass and Bioenergy, 25, 581-596.

[25]   Tenywa, G. (2010). Uganda: Water scarcity to hit country by 2035. The New Vision, March 16, Kampala: The New Vision Printing and Publishing Co. Ltd.

[26]   Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) (2006). Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) 2005/2006 (40p). Kampala: Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

[27]   Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) (2007). Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) 2005/2006: Report on the agricultural module (35p). Kampala: Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

[28]   Wiskerke, W. T. (2008). Towards a sustainable biomass energy supply for rural households in semi-arid Shinyanga, Tanzania: A cost/benefit analysis. Group Science, Technology and Society, Utrecht: Utrecht University.

[29]   Woomer, P., Musa, N. O., & Savala, C. N. (2007). Greenhouse gas emissions by the United Nations Office of conference services and opportunities for carbon neutral operations (30p). Nairobi: Organic Resource Management and Agricultural Technologies.

[30]   Yikii, F., Agea, J. G., & Kaboggoza, J. R. S. (2006). Eucalyptus versus indigenous trees: What do tobacco farmers prefer in Northwestern Uganda. Makerere University Research Journal (MURJ), 1, 171-177.