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1.1 Background to the Study
Fuelwood is a source of energy derived by burning wood materials like logs and twigs and is common among the rural dwellers and low level earners of urban dwellers. It is a traditional source of energy, which has remained the major source of fuel for over half of the world’s population (FAO, 1981: Fuwape, 1995; Ogunsanwo & Ajala, 2002). According to (IFAD, 2006; Aide, 2002), the share of various energy sources in the total primary energy supply in Nigeria is made up of oil, 10.4%; gas, 6%; hydro, 0.6%; and commercial renewable energy, 83%. The greater portion of the source of income is fuelwood, while other agricultural wastes constitute the remaining smaller portion.
The over-dependence on fuel-wood for energy is chiefly because of its relatively low prices and easy accessibility (Fuwape, 1985; Adedayo et al., 2008). Other reasons are constraints in the supply of the conventional fuels and the growing population with a larger segment still falling below incomes that can afford the cost of conventional fuels (Aide, 2002). In most rural parts of Nigeria as in South Asia where there is a large poor population, poverty is the most significant parameter that drives extensive traditional use of fuel-wood and residues (UNDP, 1997; Aide, 2002).
Fuelwood is consumed in diverse ways and at different levels and the life of the majority of rural dwellers depends either directly or indirectly on fuelwood. However, meeting rural household fuelwood energy needs in the country has become a herculean task due to the enormous quantity of wood required. Daily exploitation of firewood by the rural communities in Nigeria is estimated at 27.5 million kilogram per day (Aide, 2002). In the drive to satisfy
fuelwood requirements, most lands have been stripped bare of vegetation cover. This has resulted in soil exposure and erosion thereby placing a heavy burden on the environment and on the resources base. The scramble for fuelwood has resulted in massive destruction of many wood resources leading to deforestation and increasing desertification in parts of Nigeria and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa (Barrott, 1972; Adedayo, 2005).
The rate of deforestation in Nigeria is estimated at 400,000 hectares per annum. Popoola
(2000) observed that the country’s forest reserve which was estimated to be at 10% of the total land area in 1970 has been reduced to just 5% as of 1999, which is alarming. In Katsina state, which is located in Northern Nigeria, it was reported that the major source of firewood is farm trees, whose density is diminishing (Aide, 2002). In Benue state, the total land area covered by forest reserve is put at 2%. This falls far short of the 20% standard of the total land area set by the federal government for each state as minimum target for self-sufficiency in forest goods and services. With its small percentage (2%) of reserved forests, the projected wood deficit in Benue state is placed at about three million cubic metres by the year 2010. By implication, all the stakeholders in fuelwood exploitation will have to find alternative sources of fuel for energy supply, if the environmental quality and energy supply are to be sustained (Popoola, 2000).
It therefore becomes necessary to examine the fuelwood exploitation and its impacts on the residents of Kakau Daji village of Kaduna state.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Energy is one of the basic and most critical economic, environmental and developmental issues facing the world today. Clean, efficient, affordable and reliable energy services are indispensable for global prosperity (Olatinwo and Adewumi, 2012). The demand for energy today is far greater than ever in our highly technological world. It is a well-known fact that high
rate of industrial growth of any country is a function of the amount of energy available in that country and the extent to which this energy is utilized (Chukuezi, 2009).
However, there are more than 2 billion people who are unable to obtain clear, safe fuels and most rely on burning traditional biomass such as wood, dung, and crop residues (UNDP, 2000). Without access to efficient and affordable energy sources, they have limited Opportunities for economic and social advancement. Most of these people reside in the rural areas of the developing countries. The majority (nearly 70 percent) of Africa’s population live in rural areas, particularly in sub-saharan Africa where rural poverty is great and increasing and is accompanied by chronic hunger, malnutrition and disease (IFAD, 2006).
Nigeria is an energy resource rich country blessed with fossil resource such as crude oil, natural gas, coal and renewable energy resources like solar, wind and biogas (Okoro et al., 2007). According to Olatinwo and Adewumi (2012), Nigeria’s ever-growing population and growth in the household sub-sector has further resulted in increased demand on its energy sub-sector. Wood, dung and crop residues serve as the primary fuel sources in Nigeria’s rural areas. The utilization of renewable energy sources in Nigeria remains quite limited. The use of solid biomass such as firewood is prevalent and constitutes a major energy source for most rural dwellers in Nigeria, unfortunately, as its continuous usage leads to degradation (Manafa, 1995).
According to Nabinta et al, (2007), 87 percent of rural households are primarily dependent on biomass as their source of energy with about 90 percent of the total annual round wood products serve as fuelwood and 60 percent of this total is used for household exploitation. The rural populaces do not have access to sustainable energy and therefore depend on biomass which include twigs, branches, animal residues, crop residues, fuelwood, charcoal, wood shavings and sawdust. This has therefore created a huge shortage in the supply of fuelwood that
might be needed for other industrial and commercial purposes. These fuelwood supply and demand imbalances now constitute a real threat to the energy and livelihood security of many rural communities.
Indeed, many states are experiencing period of rapid urban population growth with a parallel rise in fuelwood exploitation in which Kaduna State is inclusive. It has never gotten any better in rural areas especially among residents of Kakau Daji settlement in Chikun Local Government Area. It is little surprising that the study of exploitation rate of fuelwood even though important has received comparatively little attention in the past. This gap is to be filled by this study.
1.3 Statement of Research Question
The need to address these problems prompts the following questions; a. What are the sources of fuelwood in Kakau Daji?
b. What quantity of fuelwood is consumed per household?
c. What quantity of fuelwood is sold per household?
d. What are the impact of fuelwood exploitation on Kakau Daji residents’ income and expenditure?
1.4 Aim and Objectives
The aim of this research is to examine the rate of fuelwood exploitation and its impacts on environmental degradation among Kakau Daji residents.
The specific goals of this research are to:
i. Identify the sources of fuelwood and pattern of fuelwood sourcing.
ii. Examine the volume of sales and usage of fuelwood in Kakau Daji.
iii. Examine the impact and economic implications of fuelwood exploitation in the area.
IV. Assess the environmental problems associated with the fuelwood exploitation.
1.7 Scope of Study
The study covers Kakau Daji community which is located in Kakau district of Chikun Local Government Area in Kaduna state, the Northern part of Nigerian. The community is comprised of few and scattered settlements with an estimated population of approximately 3,000 inhabitants according to the 2006 national population census. The scope of this study surrounds the whole settlements of Kakau Daji community and their various level of fuelwood exploitation.
1.8 Justification of the Study
In Nigeria, fuelwood has long been recognized as essential components of energy in meeting basic human needs in stimulating and supporting economic growth and enhancing the ability of man in human settlements. This work therefore seeks to contribute to the existent knowledge by highlighting the nature of fuelwood exploitation in Kakau Daji and impacts of fuelwood on both the economic, social, and health issues of the people.
The research will also provide a better framework on using natural resources with little interference on improving environmental stability which can lead to reduction in environmental degradation.
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