Nenu Engineering limited (Nenu Stoves) is the Partner of the Month of December. Chris Obi, General Manager, Nenu Stoves shares the company’s experiences in the clean cooking sector.
Give us a brief introduction of your organisation. What motivated you to start your organisation?
Nenu stoves is an initiative of Nenu Engineering limited (a clean technology company) that was formed for the purpose of developing, manufacturing and marketing improved cook stoves in Nigeria.
We started operations in 2015 and so far over 2,000 household across Nigeria have adopted our “Life Saving” charcoal and firewood cook stoves.
The motivation to start and grow this business stems from the realization that toxic smoke from kitchens across Nigeria results in over 95,000 premature deaths annually. Hence, Nenu stoves is in business to ensure that cooking doesn’t kill.
What does your organization seek to achieve in Nigeria’s cooking energy market?
Currently, over 24 million households in Nigeria rely on traditional inefficient fires to cook their meals. Nenu Stoves seeks to replace about two million inefficient cook fires with highly efficient cookstoves by year 2020.
How are customers reacting to your products in the market – benefits of using your product?
Customers’ reactions toward Nenu cook stoves have been very positive. Our customers are increasingly adopting our cook stoves because it consumes less cooking fuel, cooks fasters, and emits less toxic smoke compared to the traditional “three stone fires”.
What are the opportunities in the business environment that have supported your organisation over the years?
As a budding social enterprise, getting support in Nigeria has not been easy. However, in 2015 Tony Elumelu Foundation noticed the work we’ve been doing in replacing inefficient traditional cooking with highly improved cook stoves and they supported us with a grant of $5,000 (USD).
Job creation and the empowerment of women seem to be increasingly important. How has your organization helped to drive employment generation and the empowerment of women?
A critical aspect of Nenu Stove’s mission is to improve the livelihood of women by creating livelihood opportunities for them in the clean cooking value chain. To keep faith with our mission, Nenu stoves has always ensured that over 40% of its employees are women.
If you are asked to advise the Federal Government of Nigeria on policy options, what are the most important things the government can do to expand the market?
In order to expand the market for clean cookstoves, Governments should make funds available to local manufacturers at single digit interest rate to enable them (local manufacturers) scale up their operations. Also, government should champion behavioural change campaigns to increase the demand for improved cook stoves.
If an enabling environment is not created by government, what future risks do you envisage?
If Government ignore its role, I see a future where cooking will become the major killer in Nigeria. I also see a future where our remaining forests will be wiped out completely to provide cooking fuels for over 127 million Nigerians who rely on solid fuel for cooking.
Where do you envisage being in the next 5 years in terms of production
In the next 5 years Nenu stoves would have replaced over two million inefficient cook fires with highly improved cook stoves.
What risk does your business face and what is your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is access to finance. Currently, the demand for our cook stove is quite high but accessing funds to satisfy existing demand has been a daunting task.
What are your suggestions for moving the cooking energy market forward in Nigeria?
In order to move the cooking energy market forward, stakeholders most work hard to create an increase the demand for improved cook stoves in Nigeria. This could be achieved through behavioural change campaigns.