Feature: Kenya's low-income earners find respite in cleaner cooking fuels

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 11, 2020
Adjust font size:

NAIROBI, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Lynn Daudi's boutique located on the eastern fringes of the Kenyan capital Nairobi has been attracting two kinds of customers, those who are interested in clothes and those who have come to dock their canisters into a bio-ethanol ATM for a refilling.

Bio-ethanol, a fairly new cooking solution in Kenya, is gaining traction among the low-income earners for being efficient and safe with a promise to reduce deforestation significantly and eliminate indoor air pollution.

"The perk of this fuel is that it is clean, just like Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) but only cheaper because with 30 shillings (about 0.27 U.S. dollars) you can cook a meal or two," Daudi, a bio-ethanol agent said.

Access to clean cooking fuels in Kenya continues to be undermined by various factors ranging from economical to social. However, a few solution-based companies are attempting to provide alternatives that resonate with low-income populations who may have been disproportionately sidelined.

"The reception is encouraging but the business is yet to hit a year's milestone yet the number of customers is overwhelming. On a good day I can have 20-30 people coming to refill their canisters and another five who make inquiries of the cooking solution," said Daudi.

"This fuel cooks faster compared to kerosene which I had been using earlier. On top of that it is not flammable hence safe for anyone who has toddlers. I not only speak from a proprietor's point of view but also a consumer's perspective due to my interaction with the technology," he added.

KOKO, the solution company offering bio-ethanol cooker and fuel, has partnered with various agents across Nairobi to distribute the merchandise to consumers.

Ethanol is primarily sourced from sugar processing plants.

Francis Too, a small-scale trader who has shifted from using charcoal said that his cooking pots are soot-free and he continued to witness an overall improvement in the health of his daughters who were greatly affected by toxic fumes.

"Both my daughters had a stubborn cough and after countless visits, we were advised by a medic to either cook from outside the house or buy a modern-cooking fuel. Safeguarding the health of my daughters is what informed my transition," said Too.

Janet Mbugua, an elderly woman with fatigue pouches under her eyes, squinted under the smoke that was being produced by her coal stove commonly known as jiko.

The veteran food vendor has been making chapatis for more than a decade using the traditional stove.

"My customers opine that chapatis made using charcoal stove are much tastier compared to ones cooked using LPG. This is perhaps the reason why I have held on to my jiko for all these years despite the entry of more safe and clean alternative fuels," said Mbugua .

In spite of her convictions, Mbugua succumbed to pressure from her daughter and bought an eco-friendly charcoal stove for use at home.

"In the past my daughter was not motivated to cook because we used open fire whose fumes stung her eyes. However, right now she is enjoying cooking more. Her cooking experience has truly changed," said Mbugua.

Mbugua said that she is saving up to buy a bio-ethanol cooker soon. A set retails for about 30 U.S. dollars.

Clean Cooking Association of Kenya findings indicate that firewood and charcoal is the most preferred source of fuels among Kenyans.

Catherine Kamau, a bio-ethanol proprietor, said that interested consumers are sometimes concerned that ethanol fuels which are not popular may disappear in the market soon. Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter