In Katsina State, traders and some Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) now sell clean energy cook stoves tagged, ‘Dadin Kowa’ to earn additional income and promote a green economy, Daily Trust reports.
The stove was introduced by the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) in 2014 in seven local government areas (LGAs) of the state to cut down the use of fuel wood, improve gender health and save household income.
One of our reporters, who was in the state recently, observed the clay-moulded stove was used for cooking using sticks and millet husk as fuel rather than tree trunks and wood; it cooks at a temperature slightly higher than a kerosene stove.
The ICEED Project Advisor, Mr Adedamola Ogunsesan, at the Stove Development Centre (SDC) and Project Office in Katsina said 35,000 units are expected to be distributed across Mashi, Mai-Adua, Dutsi, Daura, Sandamu, Zango and Baure LGAs by 2018.
Zainab Sule, a marketer of the ‘Dadin Kowa’ stove sat outside her shop near the airport road junction in Katsina town displaying some with a banner that reads, ‘Dadin Kowa stove sold here’.
The fresh graduate said she started the business six months ago and that it has been lucrative. She got a grant of N50,000 from ICEED to set up the shop saying, “I started taking the products to some schools and sold to the students and staff; this has paid off because they love it.
“The business turnaround time is fair for a start-up because if I go to a school, I could sell over 10 units daily and I try to cover two to three schools. However, the logistics of conveying more stoves from my shop is a challenge,” Zainab said.
She advised other girls to start businesses while they searched for white collar jobs. “They can earn a living from venturing into Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) while waiting for better jobs or even expand the businesses to create more jobs like I am planning,” she noted.
The President, Women Rights Development Initiative in Katsina, Habiba Hassan, told Daily Trust of how her about 500 members now sell the stoves to empower themselves.
“As a means of entrepreneurial empowerment, our members get funding from the contributions we make to buy the stoves through micro-credit facilities for individual members. They sell and return the capital to the pool and make some profit,” Habiba said.
In Bayajidda town, Mrs Aisha Aliyu who started her stove business one year ago said: “I have been able to expand the sales and am happy making some money now to support my household.”
Although she moves around to sell some of her products, she hopes to have a bigger shop so she can expand her business. “People have often come to buy them so they can use them to cook at celebrations and reduce the money they would spend buying fuel wood,” she noted.
On her marketing strategy, Aisha said, “When people buy the cook stove, I often pay for the fare and that has promoted my trade.”
Muhammadu Hadi Daura, 30, is another seller of the stove at Kofar Baru of Daura town who started the business to wade off idleness.
He said: “I was introduced to the business. I had rented a shop earlier but was yet to start a business so rather waste the rent, I accepted this business. It is doing fairly well so far.”
The Arabic Language graduate markets the product through referrals and across schools in Daura where students and teachers patronise it. “If I can get more financing, I won’t look for another job now but focus on expanding this trade because of the prospect it has within and across the state,” said Hadi.
MFBs sell stoves, give loans to marketers
To drive penetration of the clean energy initiative, ICEED said it partnered with some Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) in the state to help small businesses and cooperative societies secure micro credits to expand the stove sales.
The Stove Project Officer, Mr Hassan Abubakar, said: “We accept cooperatives that are duly registered and have accounts with the MFBs. So we give them the credit and they disburse it to their members who do the trading.
“We set periods for instalmental payment of the loans but those who make turnaround quickly could payback in lump sum and apply for another tranche,” Abubakar added.
Confirming this at the Iya Zakari MFB in Mashi town, the Managing Director, Alhaji Hassan Tukur Mijinyawa, said selling the environmental-friendly stove has become a strategy for the government-owned MFB to generate additional revenue for itself.
At the bank, there is a banner displaying the product and its N500 cost price; there is also a sales outlet with an attendant for to attend to customers.
Beside this, Alhaji Mijinyawa said its loan platform allows cooperative societies to open accounts and secure short-term loans of between N100,000 to N300,000 to finance the stove marketing for a three month tenor.
“So far, we have given out loans ranging from N100,000 to N300,000 to several cooperatives and individuals who market this product since this programme began,” the MFB boss noted.
In Daura, Bayajidda MFB also has the stove sales outlet. The Head of Credit and Marketing for the bank, Tijjani Saleh Ahmed, said it was to encourage clean and energy efficiency in the state.
“There is mass patronage of the stove as we have sold over 1,500 in a short time. We are even out of stock at present,” he added.
Besides giving single digit loans to cooperatives, Ahmed said the cooperatives can make overdrafts and pay in 90 days at two per cent interest rate.
Commenting on the micro credit scheme, the project supervisor, Mr Ogunsesan said the stove, which sold for N1,500 is now sold at a subsidised rate of N500.
He said, “Over 30 per cent of the product has been sold through this credit system which is over 5,000 stoves. This process for the new product has also boosted entrepreneurship culture in the state.”
He noted that 10 cooperatives in the credit scheme sold over 5,000 stoves and have made over N1 million profit as they realised N200 profit on each stove they sell at N500 within the last five months.
“For instance, Katsina State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) recently bought 1,000 units from a cooperative to distribute and that has boosted its revenue,” Ogunsesan noted.