MASERU — A new wood efficient fuel stove to assist rural communities with their heating needs while conserving wood was launched recently in Maseru.
Known as SAVE 80, the portable stove was developed by a German manufacturer and assembled in Lesotho by Solar Lights, a local firm producing solar and other renewable energy equipment.
The set is suitable for cooking, water heating, sterilising, frying and baking.
The director of Solar Lights, Michael Hönes, said the stove, named SAVE 80, saves up to 80 percent of the wood.
He said since its introduction a few months ago SAVE 80 had made life easier for many Basotho in rural areas where many rely on wood for cooking and heating.
Hönes, who has been living in Lesotho for 20 years, said he had realised that villagers in rural areas were struggling to collect wood fuel for cooking.
He said the use of wood was also impacting negatively on the country’s natural resources as villagers cut trees for fuel resulting in soil erosion.
The company is currently undertaking demonstrations in rural areas.
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a German not-for-profit organisation, is providing bridging finance to make the stove affordable to more people.
“So far we have introduced SAVE 80 in Berea and Maseru districts and will soon be expanding to other districts including Mafeteng, Butha Buthe and Leribe,” Hönes said.
At least 10 000 sets have been produced by CDM, with mail and logistics group, Deutsche Post DHL financing the project.
Besides preventing greenhouse gases, the objectives of the CDM project are to reduce wood consumption to a sustainable level to allow natural recovery of forests to take place.
It also reduces indoor air pollution.
Thabo Mathai, from Mohale’s Hoek, commended SAVE 80 saying it helps save time and wood fuel.
“When I visited home in Mpharane my mother showed me the new stove that she says cooks food fast and saves time,” he said.
“Within a short period of time water for bathing was ready and breakfast was served within a short period of time,” he said.
Mothai said he no longer needs to buy paraffin or gas for his relatives in the rural areas.