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Sri Lankans resort to wood fired cooking after their economy collapses

 Most countries of the world suffer from great economic pressure, which the major countries are trying to contain, while its consequences are multiplied in developing and small countries, where successive global crises, such as Covid-19 and the Russian-Ukrainian war, have put great pressure on the international economy.

In a report published by the "Barrons" website, writer Amal Gyasenji said that Sri Lanka, which is relatively wealthy, is suffering today from a severe economic crisis and a shortage of goods and services, ranging from medicines to gas, which prompted citizens to stop using gas and cooking with wood.

Sri Lankans resort to wood fired cooking after their economy collapses

Sri Lanka, a beautiful island nation in South Asia, has faced significant economic challenges in recent years. The collapse of the economy has had far-reaching effects, impacting various aspects of daily life for its citizens. One notable change has been observed in cooking practices, with many Sri Lankans turning to traditional methods such as wood-fired cooking due to economic constraints.

Impact on Daily Life and Cooking Practices

The economic downturn in Sri Lanka has led to soaring prices of essential commodities, including cooking gas and electricity. As a result, many families have been forced to seek alternative methods for preparing meals. With limited access to affordable cooking fuels, such as gas or electricity, wood-fired cooking has emerged as a viable solution for households across the country.

Wood-Fired Cooking: A Traditional Method Revived

Wood-fired cooking, once a common practice in Sri Lanka's rural areas, is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Families are rediscovering the art of cooking over an open flame, reminiscent of simpler times. Traditional clay stoves, known as "aduppu" in Sinhala, have become a focal point in many kitchens, providing a means of preparing meals without relying on expensive modern conveniences.

Advantages of Wood-Fired Cooking


One of the primary reasons for the widespread adoption of wood-fired cooking is its cost-effectiveness. Unlike cooking gas or electricity, which require regular payments, wood can often be sourced locally at minimal or no cost. This affordability makes wood-fired cooking an attractive option for families struggling to make ends meet in the wake of economic instability.


Wood-fired cooking is also seen as a more sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-based methods. While concerns about deforestation and air pollution persist, many households view wood as a renewable resource that can be responsibly harvested and replenished. Additionally, the use of wood for cooking helps reduce reliance on imported fuels, contributing to greater energy independence for the country.

    Enhanced Flavor

Beyond its practical benefits, wood-fired cooking is prized for the unique flavors it imparts to food. The aroma of wood smoke infuses dishes with a distinct richness and depth, enhancing the overall culinary experience. For many Sri Lankans, the nostalgic appeal of traditional wood-fired cuisine adds an extra layer of satisfaction to their meals.

    Challenges of Wood-Fired Cooking

Despite its advantages, wood-fired cooking is not without its challenges. The indiscriminate felling of trees for fuel can lead to deforestation and habitat loss, posing environmental risks in the long term. Additionally, the smoke produced by burning wood contains harmful pollutants, which can contribute to indoor air pollution and respiratory issues, particularly in poorly ventilated spaces.

    Innovations in Wood-Fired Cooking Techniques

To address some of the drawbacks associated with traditional wood-fired cooking, innovators are developing new techniques and technologies. Improved stove designs, such as rocket stoves and efficient biomass burners, aim to minimize fuel consumption and emissions while maximizing heat output. These innovations promise to make wood-fired cooking safer, cleaner, and more sustainable for future generations.

    Community Initiatives to Support Wood-Fired Cooking

Recognizing the importance of preserving traditional cooking practices, community organizations and grassroots movements are advocating for the promotion of wood-fired cooking. Educational programs teach families how to build and maintain efficient cookstoves, while initiatives to plant trees and promote reforestation help ensure a steady supply of fuel for generations to come. By empowering communities to embrace their cultural heritage, these efforts contribute to the resilience and sustainability of Sri Lanka's food system.

    Government Responses and Policies

In response to the growing interest in wood-fired cooking, the Sri Lankan government has implemented various policies and initiatives. Subsidies for clean cooking technologies, such as biogas digesters and solar cookers, aim to reduce reliance on wood fuel and mitigate environmental impacts. Additionally, regulations on logging and forest management seek to balance the need for fuelwood with the imperative of conservation, ensuring a sustainable supply of biomass for cooking purposes.

    Future Outlook for Wood-Fired Cooking in Sri Lanka

As Sri Lanka continues to grapple with economic challenges and environmental concerns, the future of wood-fired cooking remains uncertain. While the tradition is likely to endure in rural communities where access to modern cooking fuels is limited, urbanization and changing lifestyles may influence its prevalence in urban areas. However, with ongoing efforts to promote sustainable cooking practices and innovate new technologies, wood-fired cooking could play a vital role in shaping the culinary landscape of Sri Lanka for years to come.


In conclusion, the economic collapse in Sri Lanka has prompted many households to rediscover the benefits of wood-fired cooking. While this traditional method offers advantages such as cost-effectiveness and enhanced flavor, it also presents challenges in terms of environmental sustainability and health. By embracing innovations and community initiatives, Sri Lankans can harness the potential of wood-fired cooking to create a more resilient and sustainable food system for future generations.


1-Is wood-fired cooking safe for indoor use?

Proper ventilation is essential when cooking with wood indoors to minimize exposure to smoke and pollutants. Installing a chimney or exhaust fan can help improve air quality and reduce health risks.

2-How can I make my wood-fired cooking more sustainable?

Opt for responsibly sourced firewood from sustainable sources, such as managed forests or tree plantations. Additionally, consider investing in efficient cookstove designs that minimize fuel consumption and emissions.

3-Are there any health risks associated with wood-fired cooking?

Prolonged exposure to smoke from wood-fired cooking can increase the risk of respiratory issues such as asthma and bronchitis. It's important to cook in well-ventilated areas and take regular breaks to minimize exposure.

4-What are some alternative cooking fuels for households in Sri Lanka?

In addition to wood, households in Sri Lanka can explore alternative cooking fuels such as biogas, LPG, and solar energy. Each option has its own advantages and considerations depending on local availability and infrastructure.

5-How can I support initiatives promoting sustainable cooking practices in Sri Lanka?

You can support organizations and initiatives working to promote sustainable cooking practices by volunteering your time, donating resources, or advocating for policy changes that prioritize environmental conservation and community development.



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