ARTI: Commercialisation of Improved Biomass Fuels and Cooking Devices in India Scale Up Project

Commercialisation of Improved Biomass Fuels and Cooking Devices in India: Scale Up Project
Appropriate Technology Research Institute, Pune, India, Saturday, 24 June 2006

Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) is a major health threat for women and children under 5 in the developing world. According to World Health Organisation, annually, 500,000 women and children in rural India die prematurely due to diseases linked to long term exposure to IAP. A major cause of IAP is smoke in the rural kitchens, due to use of traditional biofuels (firewood, agrowaste, dungcakes, etc.) in traditional cookstoves. Economic constraints of rural households and poor distribution network of modern fossil fuels such as kerosene and LPG, result into the rural households continuing to depend on locally available and free-of-cost or cheap biofuels. Therefore, a more practical solution is to develop and disseminate biofueled clean cooking devices.

Plan of Action

Based on the lessons learnt from the pilot project, the scale up project aims to reach out to about 15,00,000 rural households in Maharashtra and around 50,000 rural households in Gujarat. It is envisaged that this project will successfully establish sustainable business chains for supplying the clean biomass energy cooking products the rural population in Maharashtra and Gujarat states. This will be achieved through active participation of rural entrepreneurs, Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). ARTI, with its long standing experience in development and dissemination of rural technologies, will drive the synergetic working between the various NGOs and entrepreneurs.

In the first step, the potential market is quantified region-wise and suitable business models to be implemented in each region are optimized. In the initial hand holding period, the fledgling enterprises need support mainly in the form of technical and marketing know how. Hence, the ARTI-NGO network provides the service of developing and implementing an effective promotion and marketing campaign for all the entrepreneurs through raising awareness about IAP and health issues. Professional long-term support would be required for the supply of reliable quality raw material and accessories at the lowest possible cost, as well as a concentrated and co-ordinated campaign for product marketing. A private limited company, titled Samuchit Enviro-Tech Pvt. Ltd. (SET) has been established to drive this commercialization process. Funding assistance for a period of four to five years at this stage will certainly ensure sustainability of the network of NGOs and rural enterprises, including SET.

At the end of the project duration, in Maharashtra, an NGO network along with more than 300 entrepreneurs will not only become self sustained, but will also generate enough revenue to pay for the expenses of the NGO network that will be put into place through the project activities. In Gujarat, about 50,000 rural households will be routinely using the products, and about 30 entrepreneurs will be active. In the process, the indoor air quality and health benefits to the users would have been quantified and the potential for sustainability of the NGO-entrepreneur network would have been demonstrated.

See ARTI Website