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Amid a hike in cooking gas prices, Nigerian households take to biofuel cooking

Shola A., Kike Biofuel stove user, in Nigeria.   -  
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Cleared / AFP


It is almost lunch time at the Adeyemis'. Shola Adeyemi is a Kike Technologies biofuel customer. She pours biofuel gel into the biofuel stove.

As the cost-of-living soars in Nigeria, cooking gas has become unaffordable to a growing number of households. The price of 12.5 kg of cooking gas, also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), has increased to N12,500 in Nigeria, from the N10,000 reported at the end of October, according to a market survey by Punch journalists.

At her home in Idi Mangoro, north of Lagos, Adeyemi is satisfied with her purchase. She's been using it since about 10 years.

"I think I've been using it since about 2014. Then, a friend of mine just gave me one, and said to go and try this, then I gave it a try and it was so nice. It cooks fast, I use it in cooking beans, for you to know, when people say beans take time (to cook, ed.)"

"I so much love it, it doesn't darken your pot when you are using it, you feel comfortable, and you don't even need to stress. Even the smell, the odour it brings out, you'll love your cooking."

Reducing use of biomass

According to the Clean Cooking Alliance about 21 million Nigerian households depend on traditional biomass energy. This leads to respiratory diseases and premature deaths. 

Green biofuels such as environment friendly ethanol gels are safer alternatives.

Lilian Aremu is the co-founder of Kike technologies. Her business partner, Femi Oye, witnessed firthand the dangerous effects of biomass burning. His grandmother died from lung cancer.

"When you check in Africa, you notice that people actually cook with firewood from the beginning, you know, so from that, there are sicknesses and diseases that actually kill women," the CEO says.

"And one of such happened to the visionaire, Femi Oye where he lost his grandmom when he was young, because she cooked with firewood, and when he grew up, they got to know that this was the cause. And aside from that, so many other women have died, some have lost their eyesight, you know, children have died too."

Since the company was launched in 2012, it has sold one million stoves. A unit goes up for 14 to 21 dollars. It is sold primarily in Nigeria and in neighbouring countries.

Many experts say authorities must step up in the fight for reducing the use of biomass.

Regional body ECOWAS has been working to development quality standards of bioethanol for cooking and transportation of west Africa.

"So, with biofuel, it is clean, it is safe, it is affordable. And now, the disposable income of an average Nigerian is in crisis already, so everyone is looking at the cheapest way to survive. "

With inflation at 27%; the cheapest way still includes heavy use of wood or coal burning.

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