As more providers of cooking gas enter the market, the Rwanda Environment Management Agency (REMA) has urged the public to use gas instead of charcoal or firewood.
More than 90 percent of Rwandans use charcoal or firewood as a source of energy for cooking, largely contributing to the depletion of the forest cover.
Responding to the launch of Safe Gas, a new liquefied petroleum gas on the local market, Rose Mukankomeje, the Director General of REMA, says that the shift to use of gas would be vital in preserving the green nature for the next generation.
“Rwanda is using charcoal and firewood for cooking, and we are using more than we produce. REMA commends the use of gas for cooking in order to protect the forest cover,” she said.
Mukankomeje added that with the ongoing economic transformation in Rwanda, accompanied by the government’s effort to encourage people to relocate to secondary urban cities and towns for better livelihood and easy access to infrastructure, shifting to gas cooking will be key in this transition.
Liban Mugabo the Managing Director of Safe Gas Rwanda Ltd—the regional suppliers of the Safe Gas cylinder—said that as Rwanda is modernizing on a day-to-day basis; there is a need for new solutions to mitigate gas emissions and ensure green economy for the future and Safe Gas addresses such key development questions in cooking.
“We are looking at our product from the environmental transformation standpoint, because as Kigali is modernizing on a day-to-day basis; people are always on the move and therefore a need for new solutions for the future and Safe Gas addresses key development questions in cooking, in terms of ensuring a greener economy,” Mugabo said.
The new and innovative Safe Gas cylinder, was first brought into the market last year and has steadily drawn interest from the public.
“By default Rwandans have to migrate towards gas cooking, and, modernization is a factor, plus , we running out of trees to cut for charcoal,” Mugabo added.
There have been fears over safety with people opting to avoid gas owing to the risks associated to metallic cylinders, however, Safe-Gas addresses the issues of safety in the sense that its cylinders are made of materials that are non- explosive, non-corrosive, which does not stain surfaces.
“We are entering an era of gas utilization, and we will be seeing a serious gas penetration over the next few years therefore we need a safer gas free from explosion and user-friendly,” Mugabo added.
He added that the safe gas cylinders are 50 per cent lighter than common steel containers, making them easy to handle, and refill.
The possible uniqueness about the safe gas cylinders is that they are made of glass, which enables the user to monitor and see the gas level.
The safe-gas products, are manufactured by the US-based Hexagon Ragasco, the leading manufacturer of composite LPG cylinders with over 10 million cylinders in use worldwide and 15 years of experience.
He noted that a full kit of goes for Rwf90,000 that includes a 13kgs cylinder, regulator, gas and a cooker. A refill is priced at Rwf18,000.
However, according to Mugabo, the safe gas producers are going to work with districts and sectors through cooperatives to facilitate as many people to access safe gas cooking kits on installment arrangement.
“We have started with Gasabo District and they have embraced the concept. We understand that the initial investment to buy the full kit is quite expensive, but we understand that we needed to come up an arrangement to facilitate the penetration of the use of gas.”