Africa-Press – Rwanda. A Rwandan company, OAK Investments, has come up with a solution to make clean cooking affordable. The company is producing stoves and briquettes that are more affordable and environmentally friendly when compared to the use of charcoal and firewood.
According to the owner of the company, Javan Munyarubuga, their goal is to reduce the number of households that depend on firewood and charcoal for cooking.
The company that kicked off operations last year already got a seal of approval from regulators including the Rwanda Standards Board that conducts quality control.
“We produce eco-friendly stoves and briquettes to use on the stoves. We have another stove on the market that uses small, chopped wood,” Munyarubuga said. The factory is in Nyarugenege district Mageragere Sector.
“Mainly, we are focusing on protecting the environment because it is crucial. Since we are losing many forests in our country, and we need them. They help provide rain and support agriculture,” Munyarubuga said.
The investor pointed out that the business is well aligned with the government’s efforts to reduce the number of households depending on firewood as a source of cooking energy, amidst growing fears of deforestation fuelled by the booming of charcoal business
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reached out to Rwandans who use the stoves and briquettes to understand their experiences. Jeanne Uwimana, a mother of two children, who live in the Mageregare sector said that since she started using the briquette and Igisubizo stoves from Oak investments, a lot of challenges she faced have been addressed.
“It was hard for me to find firewood and cooking with it would take long and produce lots of smoke, but now with these stoves, it is very easy for me,” Uwimana said.
She added that the new stoves do not produce hazardous smoke that would leave her coughing and cause headaches. “Our briquettes are made from dry carpentry, which prevents harmful smoke,” Munyarubuga said.
Oak investments target to reach 100,000 households by next year. The company produces 30 to 40 tons of briquettes each day, and they plan to expand and reach all corners of the country.
“Rwandans will get clean cooking energy, and it won’t be too pricey. It will also be more accessible compared to the firewood.”
“It is perfect for us and our health. I recommend their products,” Emertha Mukanzigiye another user said. The products come to the market as government plans to ban the use and supply of charcoal in Kigali City.
The use of charcoal has been cited as the main driver of deforestation and indoor air pollution. Rwanda has an ambitious plan of reducing reliance on wood fuel from 80 per cent to 40 per cent by 2024. OAK Investments will play a role in achieving this target.