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American makeover for rural stoves

July 25, 2008 10:30 IST
Rural women battling fumes and smoke from burning of biomass like wood, crop waste and animal dung during cooking may soon get some respite.

Envirofit International, an US-based non-profit organisation, has introduced a range of clean-burning and biomass-based cooking stoves , which are reaching homes in rural Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Grameen Kuta, a leading microfinance institution, is financing these stoves. NGOs like Myrada, through its self-help groups, The Tamil Nadu Foundation and the Cauvery Women's Federation distribute the product.

The Envirofit cookstoves are a result of over five years of research and testing in coordination with academic institutions like Colorado State University, Myrada representatives say.

The stove reduces toxic emissions by as much as 80 per cent, while using 50 per cent less fuel. Cooking cycle time is cut by 40 per cent.

The stoves haveĀ  been built through a partnership between Envirofit and Shell Foundation. These are being sold in over 700 villages in Karnataka and 300 villages in Tamil Nadu through a multi-tier distribution strategy. Five different models have been introduced, priced between Rs 500 and Rs 2,000.

Martha Kohlhagen, director of sales and product management, Envirofit International. said: "We plan to have 40 channel partners covering 600 outlets in these two states by 2008-end."

"We are currently working with Grameen Kuta at the village level to provide financing and payment options to consumers. In addition, we are in discussion with several local and regional financing organisations across Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka for financing possibilities," he said.

Envirofit plans to increase its footprint across India by 2010.

Praveen Bose in Bangalore
Source: source