Conquering Cambodia’s eastern flank with ICS: Kampong Cham to be another production base for improved cookstoves

The idea, back in 2009, was to have production bases flanking the capital Phnom Penh – Kampong Chhnang on the right and Kampong Cham on the left –  from which improved cookstoves shall emanate and flow into the rest of the provinces, to eventually envelope the whole of Cambodia with woodfuel-saving New Lao and Neang Kongrey stoves. Their geographical position in respect to Phnom Penh is not the only characteristic that makes these two provinces ‘special’ as far as cookstove production is concerned; theirs is also the soil quality that is most suitable to cookstove production, and thus explains the presence as well of pottery- or traditional cookstove-producers in these two provinces.

 

While a production base was indeed established in Kampong Chhnang – as early as 1996 in fact – the one in Kampong Cham proved a little bit harder to materialize owing to different intervening factors. And so while Kampong Chhnang flourished and became home to the Improved Cookstove Producers and Distributors Association of Cambodia (ICoProDAC) along which network has flowed more than 3.5 million improved cookstove units to date, the dream of a production base in the eastern part of a country had remained a strategy waiting to be implemented.

And it’s a strategy that has retained its merit, five years after it was originally thought of: Chen Cheth, GERES’ Improved Cookstove Project Manager, notes that despite the huge success of the ICS project in Cambodia, traditional stoves are still used by half of the country’s total households, mostly, by those living beyond the usual reach of the improved cookstove supply network. Cheth cites a study made in 2009 which reported that of the 120,000 total domestic cookstove production per month in the country, 60,000 are ICS and the other half are traditional cookstoves.

In late 2014, Cambodia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy with support from the Asian Development Bank revealed that it, in collaboration with GERES, will begin implementing the Kampong Cham improved cookstove project with an objective of helping build a robust network, consisting of around initially 20 producers and distributors, that will supply the eastern provinces with improved cookstoves. It is expected that within two years, at least 90,000 improved cookstove units will have been supplied among households from a production base in Kampong Cham.

GERES has had a long history of implementing an improved cookstove program. Apart from working with a whole new set of producers and distributors in Kampong Cham, it also expects to deal with a different business model from what it worked with in Kampong Chhnang. Cheth is confident, though, that the project will succeed because from the very start, the objective of the ICS program has been to reach every household with improved cookstoves, and a production base and supply network from Kampong Cham will help accomplish exactly that.

To know more about the Kampong Cham ICS project, contact Chen Cheth, GERES ICS Project Manager, at c.chen@geres.eu.