LILONGWE, Malawi 13th June, 2022 (AEJ) - Malawian based companies promoting use of alternative cooking energy sources last weekend showcased their respective household cleaner cooking solutions to raise awareness and help drive demand for these solutions. The event that took place at Lilongwe City Mall (Game) was organized as part of a larger effort to address the deforestation and forest degradation that are negatively impacting national economic development and undermining hard fought development gains—leaving Malawi more susceptible to climate change and other natural related calamities that are a drain on the national purse.
Over the past month similar Cleaner Cooking Demonstrations were held at in Lilongwe at Gateway and City Mall, and similar demonstrations will begin rolling out in Blantyre and Mzuzu later this month. Each demonstration includes only cooking and heating energies and technologies that are available in that specific marketplace.
One of the participants Vernasio Chome from Lilongwe’s Chinsapo area who leads Nalichenga General Dealers as a technology innovator and distributor explained that they have been empowered by Modern Cooking for Healthy Forest (MCHF), a programme co-funded by USAID and UKaid, to sell improved cookstoves and alternative fuels to urban households.
Chome has recruited 14 sales agents that are selling products spread across various locations in Lilongwe. Some of the alternative sources of energy include sawdust pellets made by Raiply Malawi and legal licensed charcoal produced from bamboo by Forest and Garden Services (sold under the tradename BamBriq) which he markets at high density areas of Phwetekele, Chipasula, Area 22, Dubai and Area 25 among other locations. “I also distribute Ngala Ya Moto, a new stove on the market that is being produced by Dziwani Investments. This is because my business operates as a retail chain super market, in the cleaner cooking value chain. I am the retail distributor of these products,” a smiling Chome explained on the sidelines of the exhibition at the popular Game complex. “I started alone but later reached out to the National Commission of Science and Technology and they supported us with MK2.5m grant to promote the use of gasifier stoves. Later on, the MCHF Accelerator Program supported us with capacity building, mentoring and later a small grant of about MK3.5M to assist in the distribution process of the clean cooking technologies. This year our target is to expand distribution within Lilongwe city, and next year we want to begin reaching to other cities” that is our goal in this crusade summed up Chome. Another exhibitor present was Tawonga Mhango who trade under the brand name Mbambabde Quick Mbaula which is powered by a fan. The stove fan can either be powered by batteries, a phone power bank or electricity to propel the fan. The stove can use pellets, sawdust or maize bran as the alternative sources of energy.
Mhango said she applied to MCHF and was later short listed and trained under the MCHF Accelerator Programme.
“After the training and mentoring I was asked to submit a proposal, and got a grant of MK3.1m to produce 150 stoves. As an entrepreneur I promote the innovation in schools, markets and others places with the view to raise awareness. The stove can be powered by sawdust, bran, rice husks and wastes that are generated at home. I have also patented the idea so that it is protected,” she narrated. Christopher Kachinjika, Energy Officer in the Ministry of Energy responsible for the promotion of alternative renewable energy sources for cooking and heating said all this is in line in the with the revised National Energy Policy of 2018 that aspires to ensure sustainable energy for all by the year 2030. Other institutions that showcased their innovations include bio gas producers Ecogen, Za solar, Blue Wave Consultancy, 265 Energy, Chigodi Gases, Industrial Oxygen Company Limited all trading in Liquified Petroleum Gas, Up Energy, Afribam, Sustainable Tree Based and Energy Systems. The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority and Ministry of Energy were also in attendance.
A recently released African Economic Outlook Report 2022 by the African Development Bank Group suggest that inclusive and resilient development requires countries to triangulate the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in an integrated way.
A “silo” approach that focuses on one dimension at the expense of the others has a less optimal impact says the report. One of the main ways to address the integration of these three sustainable development dimensions lies in the concept of “climate-resilient development pathways,” which calls for an integrated assessment of adaptation and mitigation.
“The concept implies that such development path-ways mitigate climate risks, protect countries and communities against losses and damages from climate events, boost economic growth, create quality jobs for citizens, and improve livelihoods and social well-being of all citizens concurrently. Economic development pathways that allow for equal consideration of the three dimensions will be able to deliver sustainable and inclusive progress for current and future generations.” state the report in part.