First counterfeited improved cookstoves spotted as sales reach 10,000 units


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Copying is everywhere in Asia. Vientiane, the Lao capital, is full of counterfeited goods. But, although copied products are everywhere, not everything gets low-quality, inexpensive and unofficial twins. This honour is reserved for brands and products that come with prestige, and we are happy to observe the first counterfeited ICS stove has been spotted in Vientiane markets.

This is no surprise, as the Improved Cookstoves (ICS) programme slowly, but steadily, gathers steam. Recently, the 10,000th stove was sold and production is still increasing. Our business partners are producing over 1,500 stoves per month now. Marketing efforts made the new stoves known in Savannakhet, Vientiane and Champassak. And a new Facebook page publishes regular updates about the programme and the stoves.

But these efforts would be fruitless without delivering a quality product. The first stove developed by the ICS programme, the improved "Tao Payat", was recently analysed by our partner GERES in Cambodia. When they tested the stove with their own protocols, using the Adapted Water Boiling Test (AWBT), it proved to be clearly more efficient than the traditional "Tao Dum" stove. The results, published in a Stove Performance Report, showed that "the Tao Payat has a potential fuel saving of 28.5% compared to the Tao Dum". The stove has also been tested according to the latest ISO standards with high scores on important aspects of stove performance.

At the same time, a Customer Satisfaction Surveyfound that the new stove was welcomed by customers with open arms. According to the paper, the users:

  • Were overall very highly satisfied, especially in terms of durability and fuel consumption
  • Consistently regard the ICS as superior to traditional biomass stoves
  • Value especially stove durability and fuel consumption

As the programme aims to support the production of 100,000 stoves by the end of 2016, the team has now started developing other models. "We will diversify the stoves to make it more easy to serve a larger market", says Bastiaan Teune, Energy sector leader of SNV in Lao PDR. The team plans to develop different sizes and types, for example a wood stove or smaller versions of the already established model. Meanwhile, more and more producers are adjusting to the slightly more difficult and more time-consuming production of the improved Tao Payat. "The change process takes time, but soon producers will experience an increase in turnover and profitability", says Bastiaan Teune.

Lastly, the stoves were featured in a Lao comedy show earlier this year. For half an hour, the four hosts examined the new Tao Payat extensively.