Monday, July 24, 2017

EU project to support production of fuel-efficient cooking stoves

The European Union and a French NGO are to fund a project to sell new cooking stoves in Ayeyarwady, Magwe, Mandalay and Sagaing regions that supporters say are 40 percent more energy efficient than Myanmar’s traditional wood-burning stoves.

Advocates say the introduction of more efficient stoves could slow deforestation, which is in part driven by demand for firewood and charcoal.

Minister for Environmental Conservation and Forestry U Win Tun told journalists in Nay Pyi Taw last week that firewood and charcoal accounts for more than three-quarters of all power consumption in Myanmar.

“Using improved cooking stoves, firewood consumption and residents’ dependence on the forest will fall and deforestation will also decrease,” he said.

He added that the stoves can save a household in a rural area 1 tonne of firewood each year. Currently rural households use approximately 2.5 tonnes each year.

Over the next four years the ministry will receive US$3.1 million – 80 percent of it from the EU and 20pc from the Groupe Énergies Renouvelables, Environnement et Solidarités, or GERES – to fund the manufacture, marketing and sale of the improved stoves.

Using more efficient stoves could have more than environmental advantages. It should also minimise accidental fires and smoke inhalation, the latter of which has been linked to respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.

U Zaw Zaw Han, head of Ever Green Group, which is working with the ministry on the project, said he aims to deliver the stoves to 300,000 households by establishing more than 50 stove makers and about 200 dealers.

“People want to use [improved stoves] but they are not available in the market … We must try [to make it] that easy for them to buy everywhere,” he said.

Translation by Thiri Min Htun