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Woman earns a living by selling bio-ethanol fueled cookers

With fuel prices hitting historic highs in the monthly review by the country’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), Kenyans are set to dig more into their pockets to put food on the table.

The prices are set to rise even higher following lifting of the fuel subsidy that has kept them reasonably stable since July.

Moreover, preparing the hard-to-find food introduces another challenging moment as the prices of paraffin, charcoal and cooking gas have kept skyrocketing along with the fuel prices.

We meet Ann Mbui, a middle-aged businesswoman who is offering residents in Murang’a south an affordable alternative to kerosene and charcoal for cooking, the Koko cooker.

The Koko cooker is a two burner cook stove that uses bio- ethanol as fuel and she has used it for more than two years now.

According to her, the financial challenges she underwent purchasing charcoal worth Sh100 everyday prompted her to purchase her first koko cooker.

“It was becoming increasingly difficult to purchase charcoal every day, considering I was doing menial jobs with very little pay,” she says, further noting that she sought an alternative and landed on the koko cooker which is efficient, safe and cheaper compared to charcoal and kerosene.

“Friends visiting me would often enquire about the cooker and this nudged me to start the business of selling the cookers in 2020,” she observes.

Mbui divulges that the cooker offers affordable and clean energy as it does not have smoke or soot effects and therefore is a safe alternative for users with health concerns related to smoke inhalation.

“It comes with a regulator that allows flame adjustment and for only Sh1, 750 one gets a whole set of cooker and canister,” adds Mbui.

Notably, she adds that refilling a single canister costs Sh209 and lasts one and a half weeks when in active use.

The entrepreneur further notes that the cooker is becoming common with residents, as she currently sells two to three cookers daily and urges more people to embrace it as an alternative to felling trees for fuel.

“This cooker will help us conserve the environment by not relying on charcoal only as a source of fuel,” she says.

From the proceeds Mbui gets from selling the cookers, she has been able to sustain her family and educate her children.

By Florence Kinyua

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