The Star (Nairobi)

5 February 2013

Kenya: Efficient, Improved Wood Stove

While the three-stoned traditional cooking stove remains popular in the rural areas, it has its share of problems including that of venting smoke in the home, fuel and heat wastage.

Paul Musyoka who has been actively promoting energy saving has a new product. This time he is selling a new improved wood stove that meets the need of the rural population and is energy and time saving too.

The M5000 wood stove model goes for Sh3,000 and takes only two pieces of wood to cook a meal for at least 15 people. "The cooking stove is demand driven in the rural places where people still use firewood. You can cook a lot of food but with a little firewood. It is an excellent replacement for the three stone open fire stove and the idea here is to save on heat loss while using less firewood hence reduce deforestation," says Musyoka.

The stove is durable, portable and reduces wood fuel consumption by 50 per cent and comes with a five year guarantee. Firewood and charcoal account for 80 per cent of Kenya's total energy use with demand surpassing supply. As a result, this has increased deforestation which is made worse by inefficient use of wood fuel that causes wastage.

He is also promoting another new charcoal stove which is bigger and has a high capacity of heat storage. The CH 5200 model which costs 3,500 to 4,000 can accommodate a bigger sufuria unlike the other models. Musyoka says the CH 5200 model made by Envirofit International is still very new in the market and he is yet to get feedback from those who have bought it.

"Not only do the stoves reduce smoke inhalation in the kitchen but they also help reduce many deaths that are smoke or carbon monoxide related. If every Kenyan could use an energy saving cooking stove, the amount of pollution in the air would be reduced by almost 50 per cent," he says.

Musyoka's innovations which he established last year were driven by necessity when he couldn't seem to make ends meet. Armed with only Sh3,000 which was to be his rent money, Musyoka decided to buy a cooking stove and held a demonstration on its effectiveness to a group of teachers in a primary school near his home in Nairobi.

His risk paid off and he got five orders and he was able to repay back his rent money with some profit. "From then on I would go to events where they were groups of people and demonstrate the use of the stoves and how efficient and time saving they are. I haven't looked back since," he says.

On a good day Musyoka sells a minimum of five cooking stoves which totals to about Sh15,000. After deducting his expenses, he takes home a profit of between Sh5,000 to Sh7,000 a day.

"I have no doubt I made the right decision and I hope one day I will have an office of my own and be able to employ people," says the former personal driver.

He pitches camp in areas where he can reach a large number of people such as offices, during agricultural shows and other SMEs exhibitions in Nairobi. He now plans to go countrywide and next he will exhibit the cooking stoves at a number of places.

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