About 84 percent of households in Homa Bay County rely on firewood for cooking.
The county Chief officer for Energy and natural resources Ruth Aloo said Homa Bay is among the counties with a negative biomass net balance represented by an annual deficit of 257,706 cubic meters.
Aloo was speaking Thursday at Dicece Hall in Homa Bay town in an energy, infrastructure and ICT sector consultative meeting of stakeholders aimed at scrutinizing and prioritizing programs and projects for the next financial year.
The Chief Officer further noted that the energy sub-sector is the least financed, adding that without giving the sub-sector the importance it deserves, then even the roads and other areas relying on energy will be affected.
“The sector is seen as the least important in fact it is the least financed. Energy is critical in our lives without which many areas will not be functional. Let us see this sub-sector as the driver to everything we do,” she urged.
Aloo further reiterated the need for public awareness to move to the more renewable sources of energy in an effort to avoid other forms of energy that are destructive to the environment.
She added that a lot of people are now embracing briquettes which are slowly replacing charcoal.
However, the chief officer pointed out that Homa bay can be one of the richest counties around the region because of its vast mineral resources.
“We can be among the richest counties if only we are able to leverage our existing minerals in our region,” she said.
She further outlined the sub-sector achievements this financial year, including establishing a total of 800 solar lights in markets to provide security and increase trade time.
“In the financial year 2020/2021, we were able to award works for the installation of 80 solar market lights and maintained 100 in the markets. So far we have established 800 solar lights in markets all around,” she noted.
The chief officer also noted that the sub-sector has had various challenges among them the emergence of street lights vandalism and inadequate funding.
The meeting brought together public and private stakeholders from different entities including roads and public works, private businesses, Community Based Organizations, department of ICT and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) among others.