By Seye Joseph – @seyetweets
Ganiyu Azeez is the Head of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in Oando, he spoke with Seye Joseph at the 3rd Sustainability in the Extractive Industries Conference in held in Lagos recently on how Oando has been driving the switch from the use of dirty to cleaner cooking fuel in Nigeria with the O-Gas initiative.
What exactly prompted the idea of introducing O-Gas initiative into the society?
For us we see that there is a social challenge and when we looked at the number being published by World Health Organisation on death attributed to health hazard as a result of using dirty cooking fuel like firewood, charcoal and others, WHO published about 1.4 million death annually towards that and we felt as an organisation that is socially responsible, we have a product that we can promote that will help reduce that number, so we went into LPG to reduce the death rates emanating from using tradition system of cooking and to promote the sustainability of the environment.
How has the people accepting the cooking gas?
A bit of challenge is there, there are some cultural perception among our people that when you cook with firewood the food is sweater, truly that is a fallacy because it does not add any sweetness or nutritional value to your food, meanwhile what it does is that it has negative effects on their health.
So what are the benefits of cooking with LPG?
Cooking with LPG is a lot easier. It is eco-friendly, and friendly to your health, your food get done in a timely manner and in the right proportion of nutrient you have added to the cooking.
Ok let look at the affordability of the cooking gas, how easy it is to get in the market?
Part of the challenge we have encountered is the people who cannot afford the product financially, what we have done is to work with some microfinance banks to make it affordable and make the payment flexible. So with 200 naira, people can afford it, they can pick up a cooking set of about 3KG and pay on daily basis, so it’s flexible in acquisition.
Have there been small business owners who venture into selling the cooking gas?
Yes, we have a lot of young men and women that are into the business of selling the cooking gas.
So what have been there testimonies?
Some of the testimonies we have seen in recent past is a new opportunity for people. People that have entrepreneurial spirit see it as an opportunity because as it were, it is still a growing sector and when kerosene is not available, and if it is available it is expensive to get so they have better alternative in cooking gas with little cash you have your own business started. They have your own cylinder in front of their houses and people are coming to buy from them so a lot people have been getting involved in the business and we are making their life better.
Can you specifically mention the number of people it has affected positively?
As at the last count, indirectly we have reached out to about 1.5 million people nationwide while a lot of people have moved into the business and those who have moved into the business. Our target is to move into 5 million houses and that will indirectly or directly provide a huge employment for our people. It will also reduce the poverty level in the country because there will be people who will be driving the truck from one place to another, we would have channels of distributors, the distributors will have retailers who will be selling the product, so it is going to produce employment and Oando is happy to be at the forefront of the initiative.