Literature findings have concluded that, providing stable employment and increase in income could improve the economic status of a household and thus enable them transition from the use of traditional fuels like fuelwood to modern energy sources like electricity; and this could aid in energy poverty alleviation. In addition to this, it had also been argued that the “involvement of local communities in industrial crop value chains as smallholder producers or plantation workers could provide new sources of income and employment opportunities, thus improving and diversifying rural livelihoods”. These findings provided the impetus to ascertain the correlation between rural development and energy poverty in industrial crop settings using the multidimensional energy poverty index (MEPI) as demonstrated in this paper. Industrial crops in this study referred to “crops not used for food (e.g. cotton, tobacco) or crops that have non-food uses but are also integral components of the food industry without being staple crops (e.g. oil palm, sugarcane)”.
However, after 850 surveys of households with varied involvement in 3 operational industrial crop projects in Ghana and using households not involved as the control group, it was realized that the aforementioned deduction was not necessarily the case. Factors like gender of the household head, level of income and local context were found to influence MEPI levels. On the other hand, higher mean income of a number of households did not translate into household energy investments to reduce energy poverty. A shocking finding was that, the income-constrained groups were the ones that actually invested in better energy services and this observation was made in areas where those services were available. The paper advocated that ensuring the wide availability of modern energy options; and capitalizing on the unique characteristics of individual local contexts and industrial crop intervention were key to ensure that energy poverty alleviation benefitted from rural development interventions (if considered socially and politically desirable).
I was drawn to this artifact because it highlights the framework on which policies and interventions are to be built-on in order to make real impact on the real-life situations that rural dwellers face with regards to energy poverty. It also mentions the significance of applying decentralized measures and finding alternative renewable and sustainable energy sources to combat energy poverty.
Ahmed, A., & Gasparatos, A. (2020). Multi-dimensional energy poverty patterns around industrial crop projects in Ghana: Enhancing the energy poverty alleviation potential of rural development strategies. Energy Policy, 137, 111123.
Abubakari Ahmed and Alexandros Gasparatos, "Multi-dimensional energy poverty patterns around industrial crop projects in Ghana: Enhancing the energy poverty alleviation potential of rural development strategies", contributed by Barbara Ackun, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 15 May 2020, accessed 2 March 2024. https://energyrights.info/content/multi-dimensional-energy-poverty-patterns-around-industrial-crop-projects-ghana-enhancing