Up to the present day, wood has been used to supply the needs for cooking in rural Africa. Due to the ongoing deforestation, households need to change to other energy sources. To cover this need, a large amount of people are using residues from agriculture (straw, manure) instead. However, both straw and manure also have a function in agriculture for soil improvement. Using all the straw and manure will seriously affect the food production. In this paper we first determine the amount of energy that households need for cooking (about 7 GJ per year). Then we estimate the amount of residues that can be obtained from the agricultural system and the amount of energy for cooking that can be derived from this amount when different conversion techniques are used. The amount of residues needed is strongly affected by the technology used. The traditional three stone fires require at least two times as much resource than the more advanced technologies. Up to 4 ha of land or 15 cows are needed to provide enough straw and manure to cook on the traditional three stone fires. When more efficient techniques are used (briquetting, biogas) this can be reduced to 2 ha and six cows. Due to large variation in resource availability between households, about 80% of the households own less than 2 ha and 70% holds less than four cows. This means that even when modern, energy efficient techniques are used the largest share of the population is not able to generate enough energy for cooking from their own land and/or cattle. Most rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa may share similar resource holding characteristics for which the results from the current findings on Ethiopia can be relevant.
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