Khattar Resources is the Partner of the Month of June! In this interview, the Managing Director, Mr. Nkem Ibe shares their activities in the clean cookstoves sector.
Give us a brief introduction about your organisation
Khattar Resources is an indigenous company whose primary focus is on consolidated iron works fabrication. Our vision is to bring innovation and to add value on essential commodities and service delivery. The company has over the years designed and produced different ranges of gas burners branded as MAGMA burners and are powered with cooking gas.
What does your organization seek to archive in the Nigeria cooking energy market?
Our organization seeks to make MAGMA burner’s products available in the market at affordable prices. We encourage local women and stakeholders in the cooking industry to upgrade to gas through advocacy and awareness drive. We also work on expanding the scope of our network and outlets within the major markets nationwide.
Can you tell us about your clean cooking activities including your achievements?
We design and produce nine (9) different types of gas burner according to market demands and feedback from consumers. We have upgraded our workshop to meet the standards and to scale up daily productions. We were recommended to join the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (NACC) by the Federal Ministry of Environment and we are glad we did. Joining the NACC has offered us the opportunities to attend several stakeholders’ meetings and community advocacy awareness drives.
What are your biggest challenges in implementing your clean cooking activities?
Funding is one of our major challenges. We desire to make bulk purchase of materials for steady production, at times we have to stop production and wait to raise funds from sales to continue. The down time is not encouraging. We also need to procure precision cutting equipments, electric/gas welding machines; lots of fabrication accessories. In addition, sourcing for cast burners from abroad require foreign exchange. Purchase of bulk materials for production reduces cost of finished products. In the absence of power supply, we have to run on generator in order to continue with production. However we are moving at our own pace hoping that thing will improve with time.
What are the opportunities identified in the country that can facilitate the growth of your clean cooking activities?
One of the opportunities we have identified in the country that can facilitate the growth of our clean cooking activities is the huge Nigerian population. This will be a great market for our products. More so, as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) becomes more available and acceptable, it is expected that the switch to LPG will increase and this will automatically facilitate the growth of clean cooking activities. The availability of skilled labour in the country is also a great advantage for us.
What are the benefits of your clean cooking activities to the consumers?
Our products are a form of economic empowerment to commercial food vendors including “Akara/Masa sellers”. Users of our products have been testifying that they are fast and clean cooking burners with no loss of energy, durable and have unique features. Consumers also attest that our products have longer cooking gas capacity and they are so excited that we offer free maintenance services for our products.
Job creation and the empowerment of women seem to be increasingly important. How do your clean cooking activities help drive employment generation and the empowerment of women?
Our production line starts from security, material handling, processing, fabrication, transportation and marketing. At every stage, human labour is utilized for work to be done. We empower women by engaging them at various stages of our activities. Bulks of our retailers are women. We give them our products at reduced cost and we stagger payment for those women that cannot afford outright purchase.
If you are asked to advise the federal government of Nigeria on policy options, what are the three most important things the government can do to expand the clean cookstoves market?
One of the major challenges in the clean cookstoves market is funding. The federal government of Nigeria as a matter of priority should allocate funding for the clean cookstoves market or provide a single digit interest rate facility to enhance production, dissemination and use of clean cookstoves in the country. Key federal government agencies like the Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Federal Ministry of Health and National Orientation Agency should work with other partners of NACC to launch a national awareness drive and massive sensitization campaign programs in the country. Finally, the federal government should support capacity building efforts of cookstoves entrepreneurs and organisation of bi-annual exhibitions/trade expo with the intention of bringing cookstoves manufactures and stakeholders together to showcase varieties of cookstoves. These steps will invariably increase the use of LPG cookstoves.
If an enabling environment is not created by government, what future risks do you envisage?
It is a known fact that the utilization of clean cookstoves will contribute to the achievement of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). If government does not create an enabling environment, the NDC will not be actualized. Furthermore, the rate of deforestation will become more rapid. We also know that the practice of cooking with open fire or traditional cooking method causes about 95,300 deaths in Nigeria annually especially of our women and children who are daily exposed to smoke with high concentration of pollutant and toxic based compound. If the government does not create an enabling environment, the death toll will increase. These lives would have been saved with the intervention of our “MAGMA burner” clean cookstove.
What are your suggestions for moving the cooking energy market forward in Nigeria?
To move the clean cooking industry forward, we need to identify genuine manufactures of clean cookstoves and assist them with funds. There should also be waiver on equipment and machine importation to enhance productivity and reduce the cost of cookstoves. The federal government should issue a policy statement and give directives for all government institutions like prisons, schools etc to upgrade to gas, stating clearly the time frame within which the switch must be made.
Is there any other thing you would like to share?
The sincere intervention of the federal government will bring huge success in the clean cookstoves industry. A strong collaboration among key stakeholders is needed to facilitate the growth of the clean cookstoves industry as “Together we shall create a clean, safe and healthier environment”.