Stoves-Cookers

The Stoves Discussion list has been sharing information to improve cooking stoves since 1996. We use this site, to keep track of the many types of stoves, their designs, and the progress that has been made to improve them, and spread efficient cooking stoves in world wide.

Use the stoves menu to narrow the list of stories to the type of stove you are interested in.

  • TChar Technology for Cookstoves: Part B: Construction has been released. It is available for download at:
    http://drtlud.com/
    The TChar is a TLUD which lifts off at the end of the gasifier phase to drop char into either a charcoal stove bottom for continued use as cooking charcoal or a quench base for later use as charcoal or biochar.

  • Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy, CEO, GEO December, 2011
    http://e-geo.org

    See the attached pdf (about 150kb): Understanding Stoves
    it is an excellent brief summary that highlights the important aspects of stoves design and testing. e.g. fuels, fuel preparation, stove design, materials, use and testing.

  • Gustavo Peña, November 2011

    Tom varios amigos me han escrito que no reciben el documento aqui te lo mando, si lo van a poner en la web por favor agregar los siguientes comentarios

    1. Està fabricada con làmina de 3 milìmetros en la parte exterior y la càmara interna es de tubo acero al carbòn de 5 milìmetros
    2. tengo varios modelos en pruebas con gente que la usa todos los dias y los resultados hasta el momento son los siguientes
    3. A- en nuetro medio un negocio comun es la venta de tortillas, una de las usuarias ha logrado producir 800 tortillas con 10 libras de leña.
    4. B- la primera estufa con 2 quemadores tiene ya 8 meses de prueba y las condiciones de la càmara son exelentes no se ve deterioro alguno, esto nos da un parametro de vida de mas o menos 4 años de uso diario.
    5. C-los usuarios que estan haciendo las pruebas estan muy contentos por el desempeño y el ahorro, pues antes gastaban $7.50 usd en gas licuado (LPG) y con este modelo ahorran $5.00 por dia con un ahorro total de $1,800.00 usd por año
    6. D- los resultados finales con relacion al peso de la leña en comparacion de estufa tradicional estaran listos en 2 semanas.

    Aqui van las fotos y los dibujos de la càmara, en el power point puedes ver los modelos que estoy produciendo, la Ecocina es la lider en ventas, al final del power point veras una estuva de metal con protector amarillo para evitar quemaduras la he nombrado HOPE y espero presentarla a una universidad de Africa en unas semanas.
    la estufa HOPE esta equipada con la nueva càmara de combustion
    cualquier pregunto por favor estoy a la orden

  • The TChar(tm) stove is a TLUD stove that lifts off at the end of the gasification stage to drop the charcoal into a T-base(tm): a charcoal stove to continue cooking with the charcoal created or a quench base to save the charcoal for biochar or other use.
    Download Part A of TChar Technology for Cookstoves at:
    http://drtlud.com/

  • Alexis Belonio, Victoriano Ocon, and Antionio Co

    Garbage-In Fuel-Out (GIFO) Project,
    Suki Trading Corporation, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Philippines

    This project is a cooperation between Suki Trading Corp. and Kanvar Enterprises and the Centre for Rice Husk Technoloy (CRHET).

  • Paal Wendelobo, October, 2011

    The Peko Pe TLUD project in Zambia is going well.

    Paal describes it best:

    " The main principals for our projects I will call it community based participation both for fuel and for stove productions. Utilization of local resources with other words.. The Peko Pe is designed for production by local tinsmith with the tools they might have. They only need a template and a model; they have the knowledge how to make it.

    " First of all we discuss the need of changes, and then on the fuel side we start up with registration of alternative biomass for fuel for briquetting, energy forestry for fuel production. We always start with the fuel .to be sure there is sufficient quantities and to an affordable price.

    "The charcoal business, which represents about 15 % of the adult population, has to be involved from an early stage of the project. All kind of activities on the household energy sector will in one or another way have an influence of their business, and with biochar we don’t know what will happen, but that is one of the ting we will try to find out. Any how for the charcoal business it is just to change from charcoal to alternative biomass for household energy.

    "The energy loss by production of biochar for soil improvement is almost equivalent to the energy needed for the farmer to cook if you include the African way of thinking time is coming not like by us time is running That is a big difference. A household need about 2,7 kg charcoal a day for cooking. Form about 10 kg of dry wood you will get 2,7 kg of charcoal for one day cooking and no biochar. From .10 kg of dry wood you will get 10 kg of woodchips and that will be for 2 ½ day of cooking into a TLUD-ND. and about 2.7 kg of biochar. The pilot project will tell us if this is right or wrong."

    " A common Miombo forest in Africa will give about 3 ton wood per ha a year. 3 ton of dry wood will give 800 kg of charcoal. A household of 5 consume 2-3 kg charcoal a day or about 800 kg a year. To produce 3 kg of charcoal you need 10-12 kg of dry fire wood in a common kiln. That will give one day cooking on a charcoal stove, and almost no biochar. 10-12kg dry chopped wood will give 3 days of cooking on a TLUD-ND or another FES and 2.5 kg of biochar
    Energy forestry using just the sprouting every year can give up to 10 ton wood per ha a year, easy to cut to appropriate fuel for TLUD-ND’s or other types of FES. By adding some biochar to soil of bad quality 20-30 % increased yields can be obtained, which will give more food, more household energy, more jobs, better economy, better health for women and children and saving the forest. It can probably be as simple as this and is that not some of what we are looking for and need?
    We know some changes have to take place on the household energy sector and we have to start somewhere. Why not start with small scale farmers on sandy soil, and from there develop the new household bio-energy strategy for developing countries. Probably also with the charcoal business, they have the whole infrastructure intact and can easy change from charcoal to alternative biomass like chopped wood or pellets from agriculture and forestry related waste. "

  • Quoting "Prof. S.C. Bhattacharya" :

    Dear all,

    I would be happy to share some publications arising from the following
    activities at the Asian Institute of Technology:
    1. Sida funded Regional project: An information package (including
    construction details) on biomass briquetting machines developed in a
    number of Asian countries and design of natural- cross-draft gasifier stoves that can operate continuously is available. The briquetting machines developed
    were improvements on standard screw-press heated die design. Cross-flow
    gasifier stoves were designed for different sizes; these do not need any
    blower and can operate continuously without any smoke.

    The briquetting and gasifier stove work I mentioned was carried out under a
    Sida-sponsored project at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). The
    project involved researchers from 12 national research institutes of six
    Asian countries, e.g., Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Philippines and
    Vietnam. The findings of the project were disseminated through national
    dissemination seminars in these countries; published "Technology packages"
    were distributed widely in the region and are still available for
    downloading from the project website. We organized technology transfer
    workshops, in which a number of NGOs form the region were invited, on most
    of the technologies developed.

    (There is no restriction on distribution of the technology packages.)

    Unfortunately, the link of the project is not working due to heavy flood in
    Thailand; AIT appears to be still under 2 m of water.

    2. GTZ funded project on Biocoal: We used the term "Biocoal" (rather than
    "Biochar") for charcoal produced from solid organic residues such as
    agricultural residues and waste wood. The findings of the project were
    reported in a book titled "Biocoal Technology and Economics" by "Regional
    Energy Resources Information Center (RERIC)" (email:enreric@ait.ac.th).

    The chapters of the 495-page book were:

    • 1. State of the art of biocoal technology,
    • 2. Biocoal technology: A comparison of options and recommendations,
    • 3. Carbonisation of sawdust briquettes,
    • 4. Laboratory-scale batch carbonisation selected residues,
    • 5. Cost and availability of selected residues in Thailand,
    • 6. Characterisation of selected residues,
    • 7.Biocoal: Market requirements and Opportunities in Thailand, and 8. Economics of biocoal production in Thailand.

    A few copies of the book are still available with RERIC. A number of
    chapters of the book were summarised as journal articles; I will be happy
    to
    share some of these with interested persons for their personal use and
    research purpose.

    Other technology packages and published papers of the Sida project can be downloaded from www.retsasia.ait.ac.th. The biomass/stove group may be interested the package on drying, which includes a hybrid drier using solar energy and bioenergy from a gasifier stove, heat output of which could be automatically controlled by using a thermostat.

    I also coordinated another regional project (Asian Regional Research Programme in Energy, Environment and Climate, ARRPEEC) funded by Sida in three phases during 1995-2005. One of the 4 projects of ARRPEEC was on biomass. Dissemination booklets of ARRPEEC and some of the papers published can be downloaded from http://www.arrpeec.ait.ac.th

  • As the United States biomass thermal and power industry continues to expand, new reliable technologies offering higher efficiency solutions must be introduced. The newly introduced EOS series biomass gasification boiler is among the most energy efficient of AESI’s high-performance, low-maintenance biomass energy plants. The EOS series provides thermal outputs ranging from 600,000 BTU/hr to 20 million BTU/hr, and can be staged to provide increased capacity.

    Designed and built by the leaders in the biomass waste to energy market in Europe, Uniconfort, the EOS series builds upon over 50 years of experience and over 4000 successful installations throughout the world. When asked about the highly efficient EOS series, CEO of Uniconfort Davis Zinetti notes, “we must not forget that greater efficiency is associated with less CO2 production. Choosing EOS, therefore, means making a choice in favor of the environment.”

  • Mussie T. (Lecturer at Mekelle University, Ethiopia), October, 2011

    This is a Natural Draft Gasifier stove, that is designed with a central column of air that is designed to burn more common Ethopian fuels, e.g. coffee husk and saw-dust (cow dung binder) briquettes in addition to more conventional wood chips.

    the air column is drilled on the surface so as to let additional primary air radially into the fuel at different stages to compensate for air clotting that can occur when run with small sized fuel as you go up from along fuel column. This helps the flaming pyrolysis from being air starved due to interlocking of fuel particles. In addition to that, closely spaced holes of relatively larger size were made near the top of the central air column to supply more hot post‐pyrolysis secondary air. The presence of two hot secondary air admission points is meant to supply enough air while keeping the stove short with reduced heat loss.

    Once the stove has enough fuel, it is typically started with wood chips, or an accelerant to help the briquettes light, and then in all of the trials it burned without smoke until the fuel tank was filled with charcoal (typically between 60 and 90 minutes later). This is a biochar-producing stove, the stove does not efficiently combust it. Friability and the composition of the char depended upon the feedstocks.

    For an excellent analysis of the stove, and pictures of the biochar, please see the included Report: Results from Preliminary Experiments Conducted on Multi‐level
    Primary Air Entry Gasifier Stove

  • Andrew C. Parker, October 2011

    Lion Cub Stove
    A variation on Larry Winiarski's 16 Brick Stove
    and Crispin Pemberton-Pigott's Lion Stove

    "I had been waiting all Summer to use my brother's StoveTek
    stove to do some experiments. While searching a reference

  • Biochar Industries part of Biochar Project in Kunghur Australia is now selling Biochar TLUD cook stoves as part of our plan to make more people aware of the benefits of biochar.

    TLUD is an acronym for Top Lit Up Draught meaning you lite it at the top and the air is sucked up through the fire. Fantastic device that is light to carry and will work with all woods great survival tool . The best feature of this Tlud is when the flames go out you then have biochar. All you have to do is drop the embers on the ground and spray some water on them so they don’t continue to burn.

    This particular model was imported from India and has a very nice finish and somehow I ended up with some to sell so I wanted to let my readers know first before I start selling them at stores and markets.

    More on TLUD stoves http://www.drtlud.com/

  • Jock Gill, May, 2011

    Jock has updated his iCan instructions on Flickr:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jockgill/sets/72157626640937954/

    from Jock's email:

    The triplets of triplets in the secondary air supply is a significant improvement.

    The 18-12-6 iCan now has much greater total time with a very well behaved flame and an air fuel mixture that is lean to good for most of the run.
    There are still several minutes of a too rich mixture that does emit some soot.

    Run time on 350 grams was 27:45, most of the smoke was gone within 2 minutes, just two floaters, and the biochar had a good clean nose. This is about as good as I have gotten so far.

  • From
    From
    From
    From

    Avani charcoal stove http://avanicharcoalstove.blogspot.com/ is designed using the most common empty oil tin cans (15 liters) available in parts of India. Steel mesh, rods and a forged iron grate are also used. This stove can be made with less skills. The steel wire mesh used inside, protects the tin as well draws in air. Other liners like clay, and any other material can also be tried. Recently trained women and youth in its production at Avani - an organization at Berinag, Pittoragarh District, Uttarakhand (Himalayas), India. Here the pine needle charcoal briquettes are used. This stove has some common features of My Home Stove 2. http://myhomestove2.blogspot.com/ This is light weight, requires less skills to make it, convenient for adoption.

  • Flip and Jon Anderson,updated May, 2010

    and the movie:

    Flip and Jon Anderson put together a beautiful earthen oven that's powered by a Rocket stove. They've got all of the details on their picassa photo album:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/Jonnygms/RocketOven#slideshow/5598633235210438450


    They were inspired by Kiko Denzer's book Build your Own Earth Oven to build the supports with apple pruning into an inverted basket, and then mix the clay and straw to put over it. This was done on a wonderful earthenware support built on top of simple framing to elevate the oven to allow for the rocket stove underneath.

    Larry Winiarski offered suggestions and tweaks to improved the efficiency of the stove, and Flip and Jon report that it makes a beautiful pan of rolls and marionberry pie, with very little wood, and can also boil water off the top of the chimney. Nicely done.

  • Ray Menke

    My wife and I made a short video showing how we make Pita Bread using a version of this stove design. Here is the link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOuoE2KAbQI

  • Jock Gill, April 2011
    Peacham, Vermont, usa


    My little iCan made from a 3 lbs Costco coffee can boiled 1.75 liters of water in 42 minutes this afternoon. Ambient temp was 47 [8.33C]. This was done in 5 batches averaging 350 ml each. A very clean burn. Some soot at the start of each batch when the water was cold. Just a soon as the water in the cup warmed up a bit, the soot stopped.

    Of course I also made some biochar as well.

    Fuel was a good quality wood pellet. Cost of fuel: about 17 cents assuming pellets at $230 per ton. They can be bought for a good deal less, but I am using a higher number to be safe.

    Cost per liter boiled: ~ 7.4 cents, allowing 4 cents as the value of the biochar captured at the rate of 17.5% of the dry weight of the fuel.

  • a high efficency charcoal stove for small buisness's, cook wihile standing up and it has built in ash catchers. only 9,000Ksh (appx. 130$)

  • by: Alexis T. Belonio, Emmanuel V. Sicat, and Francisco D. Cuaresma

  • Kobus Venter put together a great article that helps define the Rocket Stove. Please take a look at it on his web site: http://vuthisa.com/2011/03/21/what-is-a-rocket-stove/

  • Gustavo Pena, Stove Team International
    and Larry Winiarski

    This is a Hybrid Combustion Rocket, TLUD stove designed for practical use with the help of Larry Winiarski, and with Gustavo Peña of Stove Team International.

    See also:

  • Alexis Belonio, Bima Tahar, and Bonny Minang

    A super low-cost, blue-flame rice husk gas stove was recently developed in Indonesia to provide households with an affordable clean-burning cooking device using rice husks as fuel.

    Within the 3 years of development on rice husk gasifier stove, PT Minang Jordanindo Approtech has finally come up with the super low-cost, blue-flame rice husk gas stove carrying a selling price of US$10 to 15, which is very much cheaper as compared with the previous model with a selling price of US$20. With this development, consumers don’t need to amortize for the stove, as what is currently practiced in villages in Indonesia, for them to acquire a unit of the stove in order for them to save money on fuel. Moreover, this stove is now made available to end users at a low cost, freeing the distributors from the task of devising financing schemes just to make the technology affordable to the local households.

    As shown, the stove consists of only few parts. It was designed and made so simple to maximize the use of materials and to simplify the production using locally available resources. This stove model has the following basic parts: (a) the casing is made of tin can and can be bought at a very low price from a Can Factory; (b) the reactor can be subcontracted from a sheet metal manufacturer as well as the stove cover
    and the burner; (c) the fan, which uses DC 12 volt, 2 watt supplies the required air to gasify rice husks. The flame coming out of the burner is bluish in color, which indicates a very clean gas. It has low black carbon emission of about 50 ug/m3 and below. The CO2 emission is about 0.6 kg CO2 per kg rice husks.

  • Crispin Pemberton‐Pigott October, 2008
    Sustainable Energy Technology and Research Centre University of Johannesbrg 
    Programme for Basic Energy Conservation GTZ/ProBEC a SADC Regional Project 

    See the attached pdf: CERAMIC DEVELOPMENT FOR DOMESTIC STOVES 

    Also take a look at Crispin's very good ceramic stove image galleries.

    It is intended that this brief report describe in an accessible manner the results of some basic research into the performance of ceramic materials suitable for use to make modern, low‐cost improved charcoal stoves. The 
    theatre of investigation is the area around Maputo, Moçambique. 

     The information and ideas are assembled from a large number of tests and reports. If studied carefully an understanding can be gained of the 
    principle ingredients found in typical clays. It is hoped enough can also
     be learned about what the tests show so as to interest the ‘stover’ in a 
    deeper study of this vast subject.  

    Some reasons why clay stoves and stove components typically have such a 
    short life are described and to a certain extent, what can be done about 
    it.   

    There is a great deal of material available on how to find, identify and 
    process clays such as pottery books and the internet. It is not repeated 
    here.  Unfortunately very little of the material available is geared to 
    the design of low cost ceramics stoves which have problems not encountered
     in many industrial applications with far higher temperatures.  

    Ceramics are complex mixtures of many minerals so it is not possible to 
    give comprehensive explanations in such a brief text, however the novice 
    reader should learn enough to be able to deal with a laboratory and 
    understand some common terminology and the test results.  There have been
     many technological advances in recent years making accessible tests and 
    analyses that were previously unaffordable to the ordinary potter.

  • The "Easy 5 Gallon Bucket Rocket Stove", is very easy to build. All materials anyone needs to cook a good hot meal is a metal 5 gallon bucket, some stove pipe and vermiculite, pearlite or similar insulation (even "wood ash" can be used). Since the insulation separates the heat from the housing, almost ALL of the flame and heat is directed up to the cooking pot or utensil. Almost NO heat is wasted, making it one of the most efficient rocket stoves I've seen. Definitely one one the EASIEST to build and transport!

    Ron Ray

  • Robert V. Lange, February, 2011

    Robert Lange, and the team from the ICSEE has been working in cooperation with the local Maasai leadership to bring both improved cookstoves and improved light and radio access to their people, as well as the training to install and repair their own stoves and PVC systems.

    This project does a great job of teaching the women of the Maasai tribes to build their own improved rocket style stoves using local materials, and relatively small sections of steel and rebar to improve the durability of the local ceramic brick. The women are clearly proud of their new stoves, and their ability to repair, and move the stoves as needed, and even better than that - the neighbors are jealous and motivated to learn and build as well.

    More information is available on their web site: http://www.maasaistovessolar.org

    More information about the project methodology, and other ICSEE Projects can be found on the ICSEE web site:
    http://www.the-icsee.org/projects/africa/villageprojects.htm
    and the Villages Project web site: http://www.villageprojectsint.org/

  • Christa Roth, February, 2011

    Dear all, find below the links to new publications by GIZ HERA poverty-oriented basic energy services, among them the manual on Micro-gasification: Cooking with gas from biomass. For queries please refer to the respective authors or Michael Blunck from HERA.

    the HERA web site

    Micro-gasification: Cooking with gas from biomass

    - new link : https://energypedia.info/wiki/File:Micro_Gasification_Cooking_with_gas_f...

    Micro-gasifiers: much more than „just another improved cook stove”. In this new HERA handbook, Christa Roth provides an introduction to the concept and the application of wood-gas burning technologies for cooking.

    Modern Energy Services for Modern Agriculture. A Review for Smallholder Farming in Developing Countries.
    http://www.gtz.de/de/dokumente/giz2011-en-energy-services-for-modern-agr...
    This publication provides an overview on energy inputs required in different steps of the agricultural production chain, such as production, post-harvest and storage, processing, and commercialization.

    Small-scale Electricity Generation from Biomass – Part III: Vegetable Oil
    http://www.gtz.de/de/dokumente/giz2011-en-small-scale-electricity-genera...
    In the third and final part of HERA’s paper series on power generation from biomass, GIZ and non-GIZ experience with electricity production from vegetable oils is compiled. While from a technology point-of-view, plant oils constitute a very viable option for off-grid power generation in developing countries, their sustainable application in daily operation for rural electrification projects still remains rare. The paper identifies remaining bottlenecks and provides recommendations for future electrification projects based on plant oil.

    Carbon Markets for Improved Cooking Stoves – Revised Edition: January 2011
    http://www.gtz.de/de/dokumente/giz2011-en-carbon-markets-for-improved-st...
    After receiving a lot of positive feedback for the 2010 edition of the carbon market guidebook for cooking stove projects, HERA has come up with a major revision for 2011. Besides a large number of minor corrections and updates, a new chapter on “Implementing a Carbon-funded Cooking Stove Project” with information on how to practically design a carbon-funded stove project has been added. The chapter includes information on stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities, the CDM-PoA approach, recommendations on the use of carbon revenues as well as an overview on expected costs and revenues from a stove project on the carbon market.

  • Tom Miles, ETHOS Conference 2011
    Kirkland, Washington, USA January 28th ~ 30th, 2011

    The ETHOS Stoves Conference was last weekend, and it included demonstrations by some of the stove makers and manufactures, with the opportunity to talk to the people using and inventing the stoves.

    Here are some of the stand-outs from the demonstrations area, click on an image to view it in a larger size.

    The Shark Stove presented by John and Flip Anderson. Notice the even cooking on the pancakes, that even heat is partially due the ceramic shark teeth construction just under the cooking surface. This is primarily a stick burning stove with both a plancha (even cooking surface) and pot rests.

    Jatropha Seed TLUD (Top, lit, updraft design, using natural draft - no fan) by
    Pamoja (http://www.pamoja.net/protree_jatropha.html) and Jet City Stoveworks ( http://jetcitystoveworks.com/ ). Abely demonstrated by David Otto.

    Paul Anderson dexterously burning Jatropha seeds (out of doors) in the Woodgas Stove ( http://woodgas.com/bookSTOVE.htm ) designed by Tom Reed. This is a light weight gasifying stove (minus the pot rest in the picture) that uses a small electric fan.
    Boiling water in the Charbelle, presented by Peter Scott. The Charbelle is a Charcoal cooking stove designed by the Burn Design Lab ( http://www.burndesignlab.org/our-stoves/ ) for use in Haiti.

    This stove features an abrasion and thermal shock resistant ceramic liner surrounded by sheet metal cladding. The stove is currently being mass produced and sold in Kenya. The stove has been very well received, earning top marks from consumers.



    Ryan with StoveTec was demonstrating the StoveTec Stove ( http://www.stovetec.net/us/ ) an Ashden Award winning cook stove that can either be used with stick wood or charcoal.

    The institutional version of the StoveTec Stove for use in schools and other organizations, has an attached chimney and an a pressure cooker version. The pressure cooker is useful to shorten cooking times, and the fuel consumption, when cooking beans and small grains.

    The Nomad PrePac ( http://www.preppac.net/ ) Bio-fuel Camp Stove burning stick wood. This is an ultra-light stove designed to burn small amounts of fuel for camping or for emergency preparedness.

    the PEMS emissions testing was happening at ETHOS (of course), Larry Winiarski is in the background in these pictures.
  • hello,

    I wish to promote some of your product especially the stove and its boi fuel in my country as part of my contributions to the charity home. how do i go about this? My name is Dada Ayobami, a Nigerian, Manager of Alugoke nig limited(hydro-works)

  • A small cafe on the edge of the maasai mara reserve in S.W Kenya that have switched to Cookswell Ovens, they bake about 80 loaves of bread a day along with cupcakes and then roast chicken and meat. per day they use appx 6kgs of charcoal for ALL the cooking. they also use a No 14 KCJ for boiling and frying needs.

    6 people are now employed in a almost smokeless kitchen, before they bought a jiko, all thier cooking was done on a 3 stone fire and they used about 25kgs of firewood.

    Cook, save money, eat well.

    Cookswell Ovens
    http://www.kenyacharcoal.blogspot.com

  • The Kitengela Arboretum Promoting sustainable agro-energy technologies and conservation education. Kenya Seeds of Change An initiative contributing towards national afforestation through direct seeding of woodlots. Concept Compiled by: Teddy M. Kinyanjui Sustainability Consultant Kitengela Arboretum Po. Box 23058 Lower Kabete Nairobi, Kenya. April 2009

    **Kenya Seeds of Change**
    *Overview*
    The degraded state of Kenya’s national and private forests (and therefore, the overall environmental health of the country) borders on the point of no return. Unless large scale forestry efforts are undertaken by both the public and private sector in the next few years, the damage that has been done to the countries forests will become irreversible. Due to the slow pace of natural regeneration of forests (as compared to their exploitation), a boost is sorely needed to meet current and future demands by Kenya’s ever growing population for sustainably grown wood by-products, especially the charcoal and firewood that is used daily by 80% of the country’s population.
    The Kenya Seeds Of Change initiative aims to contribute towards national afforestaion by land owners through the countrywide sales of inexpensive tree seeds and the promotion of direct seeding woodlot establishment. Seeds are by far the best method of promoting wide scale tree planting in Kenya. These are some of the benefits from the direct planting of tree seeds compared to planting seedlings:

    • Seeds are Cheaper! (At roughly 0.25cents per tree compared to 20+ shillings per seedling)
    • The tree’s hardiness and survivability increases.
    • Thousands of seeds can be transported and stored much more easily then thousands of seedlings can until the planting time comes.
    • Seeds can be massively disseminated through existing retail outlets with minimal price increments from producer to consumer. Tree seedlings face problems of availability at the right time, dissemination logistics etc.
    • Partially domesticated indigenous tree species are best grown from seed. They are already adapted to Kenya’s climate, soils and pests and the trees are currently widely used and understood by the population.
    • Seeds simplify the enhancement of the genetic diversity of planted woodlots.
    • The above/below ground biomass ratio is more conducive to healthy growth when a tree is planted from seed.
    • Overall financial losses and risks from drought, animals etc. are significantly less under direct seeding.

    Limited Access to Good Seed

    • From large commercial plantations to small scale rural and urban farmers, the access to purchase certified tree seeds according to their growing zones and uses is extremely limited to anyone who would like to plant trees.
    • Currently the only place to buy graded, certified tree seeds is at KEFRI (The Kenya Forestry Research Institute), located in Muguga, on the outskirts of Nairobi.
    • In contrast all the Nakumatt and Uchumi supermarket chains and all of the Agro-Vets in small or large towns and cities stock a variety of seeds ie. sukuma wiki (Kale) and maize etc.
    • Which of course raises the question; why don’t they all stock small packages of tree seeds that are suited to their market base?

    This is what the Kenya Seeds of Change initiative has been started to get done.

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