| Application of biomass-energy technologies |
|III. Fuel-efficient cookstoves|
The KCJ programme was largely distinguished by limited detailed guidance on the part of the Government and concerned policy-makers. The absence of coherent national energy policy guidelines in the early stages of the development of the KCJ seems to have been, paradoxically, a blessing. The energy policy and planning vacuum in which the KCJ operated provided the space for innovative research and initiatives that were instrumental in the success of the KCJ.
It is believed that if there had been a strong policy direction in the early stages of the KCJ development, it could have stunted research and stifled the energies of NGOs and the informal sector, both of which were instrumental in the success of the KCJ.
One interesting example of government policy guidance in the early stages of the stove programme was its insistence that all production activities of the KCJ should take place within the informal and or small-scale industrial sector. While that was a valid guideline with respect to the manufacture of metal cladding, the production of ceramic liners is a much more difficult undertaking that requires a higher level of technical know-how and quality control. As a result, the KCJ has continued to be plagued by poor quality liners. However, most of the small-scale producers have been eliminated from the industry due to competition and lack of transport to distribute their liners. Only medium- to large-scale producers have survived the competition, and the level of mechanization has grown dramatically over the last two years. This seems to suggest that policy guidance was not very successful or advisable.
Now that the KCJ has achieve a measure of success, there appears to be a need for policy support to replicate the KCJ success in other parts of Kenya and to assist in quality control. The KCJ has only penetrated the Nairobi stove market. The Mombasa and Kisumu markets (the second and third largest towns in Kenya) have not felt the impact of the KCJ yet. Policy guidance that would provide finance and donor support would greatly facilitate the expansion of the KCJ to other urban areas of Kenya.
As mentioned earlier, quality control, particularly with respect to clay liners is a major source of concern. Government involvement in developing quality standards and encouraging adoption of trademarks would be of great assistance.