Local technology initiatives in line with efficient cooking stoves should be identified and scaled up to benefit Rwandans in the framework of the Government’s policy to reduce wood fuel and emissions, officials have said.
Indeed, officials contended that there are initiatives that exist in this regard, but are not given attention.
They were speaking last week during a technical meeting that sought to eradicate the use of charcoal and firewood especially among public servants.
The Director General for Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Coletha Ruhamya said that Rwandan should not be importing technologies that can be developed within its territory, citing modern stoves.
She said that there are Rwandans who are making cooking technologies that should be upgraded to benefit the communities, yet have lacked support, citing “Tekutangije”, a local firm that manufactures energy efficient stoves.
“We can document the technological initiatives of those people with extraordinary innovations and we can support them so that they develop the country and offer jobs especially to the youth,” she noted.
“We need to have such a chain of many technologies; otherwise we will keep even importing small technologies,” she said.
She said that it is likely that all Rwandans will not use cooking gas at the same time in the near future, which calls for various supporting technologies provided that they reduce wood fuel and emissions.
REG Chief Executive Officer, Jean Bosco Mugiraneza said that “if a local pilot project succeeds, we have to mass-produce it.”
“We are thinking of challenges and issues, but there are other people who have solutions, and we do not know them. Some are not even supported, they don’t know how to access those financing initiatives which exist,” he said.
Isidore Nzeyimana, the Managing Director of Tekutangije, told Sunday Times that the firm has a factory in Karuruma, Gasabo District. It makes products on demand, noting that it can produce even 1,000 stoves in one week.
He presented his cooking technologies in Morocco during the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations on climate change - COP22 that took place in November, 2016.
He said that they have stoves ranging from Rwf50,000 to Rwf250,000. The stoves have a part for boiling water and purifying it and another designed for heating.
“What is good for such stoves is that in six months’ time, the user has already got benefits.”
On the issue of the challenges facing his activities, Nzeyimana cited purchasing power which is still low among some Rwandans – the vulnerable; the importation of raw materials for the production of the stoves mainly from Europe which makes them expensive, as well as the high production cost.
He noted that they also need support in terms of refining their technologies and getting a market both locally and internationally.
The officials proposed that the Government can offer support to such initiatives through, say, Workforce Development Authority (WDA) especially in terms of training on skills transfer aspect, and the Business Development Fund (BDF) and Rwanda’s Green Fund (FONERWA) on the financial support facet.
The meeting resolved to visit local cooking technology initiatives and hold a multi-disciplinary national biomass conference in February this year, on how to scale up such local initiatives in the benefits of Rwandans.
Nationally, 15.2 per cent of households use charcoal while 83.3 per cent use firewood as the main cooking fuel, according to Rwanda State of Environment and Outlook Report 2015.
Under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) in 2018, the Government targets to reduce firewood and charcoal as fuel to 50 percent of households.