Selecting the Appropriate Improved Cooking Technology: What Matters?
Improved biomass cookstoves projects are being prioritized, nationally and internationally, for development funding in India. While the Government of India’s National Biomass cookstoves Programme1 is the largest of its kind, there are many other national and regional improved cookstoves projects being implemented by multilateral and bilateral agencies. A review of cookstove projects reveals the poor state of adoption of improved biomass cooking technology2 and a multitude of inadequately understood factors that drive adoption.3 The type of improved biomass cookstove technology purchased by the households is recognized as a significant determinant of adoption. There are numerous variants of improved biomass cookstoves available in the Indian market, varying by cost, source of draft (air), type of fuel used, mode of fuel loading, materials used, stove efficiency, to name a few. Many improved cookstove programmes are technology specific, focusing dissemination efforts on a few pre-selected models of improved cookstoves. The National Biomass Cookstoves Programme, though favouring greater diversity in cookstove technology, limits itself to technical performance of the cookstove as the initial criteria for selection of cookstove models supported by the programme.