International Journal of Research in Environmental Studies
ISSN: 2059-1977
Vol. 9(1), pp. 1-11, November 2022

Upscaling improved fish smoking kilns: A management perspective for nature-based solutions in Western Africa?

Zebedee Njisuh Feka1*, Abu-Bakar Massaquoi2, Edayatu Lamptey3 and Paa Kofi Osei-Owusu4

1Senior Adviser, the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
2Lecturer, Institute of Environmental Management and Quality Control, Njala University, Sierra Leone
3Grants Specialist, West Africa Biodiversity and Low Emissions Development.
4Chief Executive, CERATH Development Organisation (CDO), Accra Ghana.

*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Received 22 July, 2022; Received in revised form 09 October, 2022; Accepted !3 October, 2022.


Traditional and improved cooking systems, Deforestation and avoided deforestation, Scaling-up.

Forests remain a crucial domestic energy source for households across West Africa, driving the excessive use of biomass in rural and peri-urban areas. Deforestation from excessive biomass use continues to threaten and alter the supply of biomass available to households, negatively impacting climate, biodiversity, and health, especially for vulnerable women and children. Different cooking solutions have been promoted across the region for their fuel efficiency and emissions performance, including improved fish-smoking kilns (IFKs), which have evolved significantly in recent years, albeit with mixed results. Through literature review, this paper highlights the characteristics, issues, and benefits of IFKs used widely in the region to add knowledge to understanding why such technologies fail to scale beyond experimentation and provide an insight into opportunities and trade-offs of increasing their adoption and achieving impact at scale. Our findings show that IFKs are beginning to generate attractive market opportunities for local communities. However, they will not yield considerable ecological, environmental, and economic benefits without scaled-up finance, enabling policies, regulatory conditions, and participatory governance. This will directly hinder the adoption and spread of alternative clean cooking systems and limit financing for local enterprises. We propose that countries strengthen knowledge co-production systems, increase policy and community learning at scale, and implement innovative approaches and initiatives that enhance meaningful local involvement and community agency to remove these barriers. Our findings have implications for natural resources management, environmental sustainability, local enterprise development, and the mobilization of climate finance.

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