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US Eco-stove maker eyes East Africa’s mass market

jiko

A fuel efficient charcoal stove that will be made locally by Envirofit and East Africa Energy Company

US-based Envirofit International has partnered with East Africa Energy Company to start manufacturing eco-friendly charcoal stoves this month in Nairobi.

The partners will use Kenya as their business hub, from where they will serve the larger East and Central Africa, helping households to reduce expenditure on fuel and provide jobs.

“To bring a manufacturing plant in Kenya is a monumental step in bringing both jobs and quality products closer to our partners,” Envirofit says on its web page. The cooking stove manufacturer has been importing its products through East Africa Energy for close to two years.

The charcoal stove reduces spending on charcoal and amount used by close to 50 per cent. It has been successfully used in developed countries and is set to change lives in Africa and Asia continents.

“Since I bought the stove, it uses a small amount of the charcoal but cooks a lot and therefore my spending on the fuel has reduced tremendously,” said Elizabeth Omburi, resident of Karen who bought the stove five months ago.

The companies aim to promote environmental conservation, reducing house hold spending on charcoal and the carbon emissions.

“We want to see people breathe healthier air, spend less time and money on cooking fuel, they should also place smaller demand on their forests and use the stoves that emit less greenhouse gases,” said East Africa Energy managing director Sam Gicheru.

Most women who have bought the charcoal burner have branded it a “miracle jiko” due to its efficiency and economic benefits.

In Kitengela, a women’s group has joined hands to buy the product on a merry-go- round basis.

“I was the first to get the jiko and I have no regrets since I now use less charcoal and therefore spend less,” says Jane Wanjiku.

Families spend between Sh80 to Sh200 daily on charcoal. But through the innovation the user of the stove will spend around 45 per cent less on fuel per daily, saving of between sSh40 to Sh80.

“This is a total weekly saving of between Sh280 and Sh560 per week, equivalent of Sh1,120 to Sh2240 per month, through it family spending is lowered,” said company’s general manager James Kinyanjui.

Due to the high demand and a need to make the product more affordable Envirofit International assembling plant will unveil its operations this month in Industrial Area, Nairobi, and is targeting more than one million households in the next five to 10 years to benefit from cheaper energy.

The product that was introduced in 2011 as a pilot project has for the past one year benefitted more than 30,000 Kenyans.

“The innovation is geared at improving the livelihoods of the charcoal users, since in a way it enhances economic gains by reducing the daily spending on the charcoal as a source of energy,” said Mr Gicheru.

The stove reduces the release of the toxic component, carbon monoxide, that is higher in the use of the charcoal in the ordinary improved Jiko.

“This is one of the innovations that will mark the mileage in environmental conservation if it will successfully reach households in Kenya and the region,” said sales manager Jairus Omwanza.

He said conservation of energy and its cost go hand in hand with improving lives through poverty eradication and raising the living standards.-Business Daily

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