Factors affecting the adoption and use of liquefied petroleum gas in Gatanga Sub County, Murang’a County, Kenya
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Household air pollution (HAP) emanating from the burning of dirty fuels is the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Additionally, the use of solid fuels such as charcoal and fuelwood continues to exert excessive pressure on the dwindling forest resources in the LMICs. Adoption of clean burning fuels including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) can reduce the burden of HAP and pressure on the forest resources. However, Kenya’s adoption of LPG remains below Africa’s average at about 5%, despite the government exempting LPG from taxation through the Energy Bill of 2016 to lure more Kenyan households into adopting LPG. This research assessed the factors affecting the adoption and use of LPG in Gatanga sub-County. Firstly, the study’s research questions addressed the influence of LPG availability on LPG adoption in Gatanga sub-county. Secondly, the study sought to find out the factors influencing LPG use patterns and to assess the potential effects of LPG adoption on the environment, particularly on forest resources. A correlation research design was employed to analyze responses to a structured questionnaire completed by 315 respondents selected through stratified random sampling across six wards of Gatanga sub-county. The relationships between different variables were tested using Pearson’s correlation analysis and the Chi-square tests. A paired-samples t-test was used to test for any significant difference in fuelwood consumption before and after LPG adoption (p≤ 0.05). The results show that although 49.5% of households have adopted LPG in Gatanga sub-county, only 10.2% use it as their primary fuel for cooking. The findings also showed that a significant positive relationship exists between the distance to LPG depots and LPG adoption. Similarly, the availability of LPG delivery services determines whether a household adopts LPG. Furthermore, household size and household income also influence the choice of a household’s primary cooking fuel. The study also found a significant statistical difference in fuelwood consumption before and after LPG adoption. In conclusion, although close to half of the households in Gatanga sub-county have adopted LPG, its exclusive use is limited to a few households. It is therefore recommended that addressing the factors of LPG availability and affordability is critical for the success of the Kenya Vision 2030 Agenda to achieve 35% exclusive LPG use in Kenya. The study further recommends scaling up LPG adoption to achieve the long-term goal of 10% forest cover as a gain from LPG adoption.
Africa Nazarene University