Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

An integrated agroforestry-bioenergy system for enhanced energy and food security in rural sub-Saharan Africa

Garcia-Lopez, Natxo; Bargues-Tobella, Aida; Goodman, Rosa C.; Uwingabire, Solange; Sundberg, Cecilia; Boman, Christoffer; Nyberg, Gert


Most people in rural sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity and rely on traditional, inefficient, and polluting cooking solutions that have adverse impacts on both human health and the environment. Here, we propose a novel integrated agroforestry-bioenergy system that combines sustainable biomass production in sequential agroforestry systems with biomass-based cleaner cooking solutions and rural electricity production in small-scale combined heat and power plants and estimate the biophysical system outcomes. Despite conservative assumptions, we demonstrate that on-farm biomass production can cover the household’s fuelwood demand for cooking and still generate a surplus of woody biomass for electricity production via gasification. Agroforestry and biochar soil amendments should increase agricultural productivity and food security. In addition to enhanced energy security, the proposed system should also contribute to improving cooking conditions and health, enhancing soil fertility and food security, climate change mitigation, gender equality, and rural poverty reduction.


Biochar; Cleaner cooking; Modern energy access; Restoration; Rural electrification through combined heat and power plants; Sustainable development

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment