Half of the country’s households still rely on firewood for cooking

- By Niraj Paudel | Dibyak Kapali |

Image Source: Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay
Image Source: Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

The increased use of sustainable household appliances and electric cars indicates a global shift toward the use of renewable energy sources.

In contrast to this, the recent 2022 census data of Nepal reveals that a mere 0.5% of Nepali households — out of a total of 6.66 million — use electric appliances for cooking. 

Half of Nepal’s households — around 51% — still depend on firewood as their primary fuel source for cooking. However, this represents a significant reduction of 13% from the previous 64% of families who relied on firewood for cooking, as reported in the 2011 census.

The reasons for Nepalese households' reluctance to use electricity for cooking may stem from their fear of load shedding and irregular power supply, a recurring issue in the country's power supply, and inadequate promotion and incentives for the use of electrical appliances.

Despite several casualties caused by Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), 44.3% of households still depend on LPG cylinders for their cooking needs — an increase of 23.27% from the last census data of 21.03%.

According to the Department of Customs, Nepal imported LPG amounting to Rs 38.72 billion till mid-March of the present fiscal year, which was equivalent to Rs 40.64 billion during the corresponding period of the last fiscal year, which indicates a certain shift in consumers preference, albeit a slow one, and calls for more proactive actions from the government side to increase the household use of its domestically produced renewable energy.

Karnali province stands out with an overwhelming 82.2% of its total households 366,037 relying on firewood, while Bagmati Province has the highest proportion of households (69.8% ) using LPG out of altogether 1,567,917 families in the province.

The rising cost of LPG which is mainly import-oriented and reluctance to adopt electric appliances in Nepal may soon pose a significant challenge but also presents opportunities in the renewable energy sector and electric appliances. The adoption of electric appliances offers a more sustainable and cost-effective option in the long run, reducing dependence on foreign countries for LPG imports and ensuing stress on foreign exchange reserves.

Likewise, households using traditional cow-dung dry patties stand at 2.9%, biogas at 1.2%, kerosene at 0.05% and others at 0.1% of the total households.

Designed by Dibyak Kapali

Niraj Paudel is currently interning at the_farsight. He is a law student at the Kathmandu School of Law.

Dibyak Kapali is a researcher and a social media lead at the_farsight and a student of microbiology.

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