Areke Production

Briquette Stoves for Areke Production in Arsi-Negelle

Project Overview

Areke is liquor produced in Ethiopia, but the process of burning fuelwood inside homes to manufacture Areke is detrimental to human health and contributes to deforestation. The Sustainable Energy Program at the Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Center and Network (HoA-REC&N) is currently undertaking a pilot project to test the effectiveness of using briquette burning stoves for Areke production, instead of traditional systems. Briquette stoves run on briquettes, a block of fuel made of compressed agricultural waste materials such as coffee husks and saw dust. The aim of the pilot project is to reduce the consumption of fuel wood, and its associated social and environmental impacts.

Project Rationale 

Human health case

The inside of a typical Areke production house is thick with black smoke as pea-green yeast burns and transforms into alcohol.  Arsi-Negelle woreda in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia is home to thousands of such houses. These families depend on income generated from Areke but the working conditions often cause severe health hazards including chronic respiratory diseases and eye problems.

Environmental case

Fuel wood consumption for Areke production is high and responsible for increasing levels of deforestation in the surrounding area. Recent research findings reveal that around 3,500 households in Arsi-Negelle produce Areke. Each household produces about 150 liters of Areke in six working days on average, consuming a minimum of 450 kilograms of fuel wood. It is estimated that 3 kilograms of fuel wood is used to produce 1 liter of Areke.

 The high demand for fuel wood has stripped even protected forests of trees, and is rapidly escalating deforestation. At the same time, due to dwindling supply, prices have crept up at the four local wood markets.

 “Currently, the demand for fuel wood for Areke is high,” said Mr. Kemal Kedina, an energy expert at Arsi Nature Conservation and Environment Development Association (ANCEDA), a local Non-Governmental OrganizationOrganization (NGO). “At night, some suppliers cut wood from the protected forest to distribute to their customers” he added.


 The main objective of the project is to test the effectiveness of using briquette burning stoves to produce Areke instead of traditional systems.

 Activities and Achievements

Wishing to protect the surrounding environment, ANCEDA brought the issue to HoA-REC&N. Consequently, as part of its Demand Driven Action Research (DDAR) Program, HoA-REC&N sponsored four MSc researchers to consider scientific and sustainable solutions to this problem. It has also instigated a project to supply briquette stoves and briquette fuel to producers as an alternative energy system for the production of Areke.

 HoA-REC&N is working with ANCEDA to pilot the Areke briquette stoves in Arsi-Negelle. The stoves for the project have been designed and developed at HoA-REC&N by Mr. Eyobel G/Senbet, Energy Project Officer for the Sustainable Energy Program team. Using briquettes instead of fuel wood reduces smoke and produces a more evenly distributed heat. This is highly beneficial to Areke production because, in traditional production, women must constantly adjust the fire to ensure that heat is evenly distributed.

 The pilot will test whether using briquettes, a cleaner and more sustainable fuel, to manufacture Areke will not only protect and conserve the forest, but also improves the health of workers.




Sustainable Energy Programme Coordinator

+251 (0) 118 951992