Quality Counts but Quantity is Encouraging

10 May

I was recently reporting some results for The Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) regarding the number of improved stoves that GVEP International supported businesses sold in the period of Jan – Dec 2011. Although I have been working with these businesses and visited many of their production sites I was still amazed to collectively see the number of stoves that they sold.

The program currently works with over 350 improved cookstove businesses throughout Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania within different parts of the value chain – some businesses produce solely stove liners, others assemble and some retail the complete stoves. For reporting purposes we were interested in the number of complete stoves that were sold to the end user. To estimate this we totaled the number of stoves sold by those involved in complete cookstove production and stoves sold by cookstove assemblers. The total for the three countries came to 275,842 stoves. Although some of these stoves may be of questionable quality and of varying lifespans, this is still a pretty impressive figure!! It also did not include the number of ICS liners sold and stoves sold by retailers (to avoid double counting) which also make up a large number. This figure not only demonstrates the production capacity of locally manufactured stoves in East Africa but also that people are buying them.

During the market assessments that we recently conducted on behalf of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves it was noted that many of the stoves within the East African market are of poor quality. Local producers such as those under The Developing Energy Enterprise Project are an ideal channel for raising the quality of the stoves on the market – an objective that the program seeks to achieve. If this can be combined with greater emphasis on marketing activities and raising consumer awareness to increase the demand for quality, then the number of stoves being sold will not only increase but will also be of higher quality, hence having even larger environmental, income saving, social and health impacts for the region.

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