| Boiling Point No. 30 - April 1993 |
Sri Lanka, December 1992, Report by ITDC-SIJE
This international seminar was organized to collect and exchange the commercialization experience of different projects, mainly in Asia. It was hosted by Integrated Development Association (IDEA - Sri Lanka), and funded by FAO/RWEDP, GTZ, ITDG, and ARECOP. Representatives of non-government organizations, governmental, international and donor organizations from 13 countries participated.
Commercialization was defined as a process which results in a situation in which entrepreneurs produce and market improved cookstoves at their own will and risk in order to make a living in a competitive market. In some circumstances full commercialization, in which the market takes over completely, may be neither feasible nor desirable.
Discussion was structured around the following key questions:
1. What is the impact of commercial approaches and for what objectives is it most appropriate?
2. Under what circumstances is commercialization feasible and appropriate?
3. What are the likely difficulties and possible approaches?
4. How can projects combine commercial and non-commercial approaches to make transitions between them?
5. What are the implications of commercialization for stove agencies?
One of the main findings of the seminar was that the vast majority of stove projects are already adopting commercial approaches to some extent, though few if any have achieved full commercialization. Of 15 projects represented, 3 classed themselves as institutional, 3 in transition from institutional to commercial dissemination, and the rest were all 'commercial'. However, to date there are few examples of large-scale commercial "successes" to learn from. The two main examples in which many thousands of improved stoves have been disseminated through commercial markets are the KCJ (Kenyan Ceramic Jiko) in Kenya, and the Anagi (two-pot wood-burning) stove in Sri Lanka.
The common perception of participants at the start of the seminar was that commercialization enables a stove agency to disseminate more stoves for less money, and with greater chance of sustainability. But it may take a long time - or never be possible to reach this point. So commercialization does not necessarily result in more stoves or need less money from a stove agency during a project. Far from being easy, it is a risky strategy that requires trade-offs and therefore hard choices to be made. It has significant implications for the way stove agencies work, their skills, activities and roles.
Key areas of institutional activity are stove research, development and design; selection and training of producers; checking quality of production; stove promotion and awareness- raising. The latter two may require a lot of project input during the commercialisation process. Producer selection and training are ultimately taken on by the market, but further R&D and quality checking may continue after commercialization has been established and the 'project' completed. In addition to the seminar proceedings, a guide to appraising and planning commercialization of stove marketing will shortly be appearing in booklet form.
Participants at the Seminar/Organization represented:
IDEM Consult, The Netherlands
Development Alternatives, India
Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources,
Direktorae Jenederal Listerik den Energi, Indonesia
Institute of Fuel Research, Bangladesh
HSE Greenfields, Thailand
Ministry of Energy, Vietnam
Department of Energy, Thailand
Centre for Rural Technology, Nepal
IDEA, Sri Lanka