|Boiling Point No. 18 - April 1989 (Intermediate Technology Development Group , 1989)|
5-8 December 1988, Khartoum, Sudan
The Regional Workshop on the Commercialization of Improved Cookstoves was organised by KENGO and attended by participants from Burundi Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi Rwanda Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Reported by Dominic Walubengo, KENGO
1. In selecting an improved stove model, priority should be given
to the identification of users' needs. Candidate stoves may include all metal
stoves, all ceramic stoves, mixed ceramic/metal stoves, or any other possible
2. A comprehensive market survey should be conducted prior to the selection of the stove model or models to be widely disseminated.
3. If an improved stove is intended to compete with a traditional stove, the design of the improved stove should be similar and the price of the improved stove should eventually be comparable to the traditional stove.
4. The users' needs and market surveys should provide the basis for the identification of an appropriate production technology for the selected stove model.
5. The production technology should be based on existing skills in the particular country/area where stoves are going to be produced (particularly metal stoves or components); and basic construction materials should be locally available.
6. Stove programme managers should resist the temptation to control stove prices particularly in the initial phase of stove production: a high profit margin will encourage new stove producers and thus drive down to competitive levels.
7. In the case of all metal stoves, it is recommended that fabrication be based on the informal sector.
8. In the case of all ceramic stoves, it is recommended that fabrication be based on the formal sector.
9. In the case of ceramic/metal stoves, it is recommended that the fabrication of ceramic components be based on the formal sector and the fabrication of metal components on the informal sector.
1. Information Requirements
· Traditional marketing channels need to be understood and should always be used for new products competing with traditional products.
· Production system understanding (ie in terms of scale, economics, materials, distribution channels, etc) and characteristics of the product (ie price, materials, weight, size, functions performed, etc) are essential prior to initiating both production and marketing.
· Market studies are required prior to any large scale dissemination effort, and are also essential to final selection and design of stove models. Information obtained should include current prices, numbers, distribution channels, ability to pay of consumers, potential target market segments (ie income or other groups), alternative fuels, device availability and prices, potential for switching of fuels, and geographic distribution of market.
2. Pricing Strategy
· Subsidies are usually inappropriate, distort incentives to
producers and harm sustainability.
· Projects should not lead marketing efforts, but provide support and encouragement to producers' marketing programmes.
· Competition between products and producers is needed to bring prices down.
· Different income groups require different products, as well as competition to ensure appropriate stoves are available.
· Price fixing should be avoided due to its negative affect on producer incentives.
3. Information and Advertising
- A new small business is unable to afford sufficient advertising
for a new product and programme or government support for promotion and
advertising is needed.
- Programmes should be selective and evaluate the effectiveness of advertising and promotion for the target audience. Promotion may include media such as radio and TV, demonstrations at fairs and markets, posters and government readers' speeches.
- Packaging of a product (and its price) should be appropriate to the target market.
- Personal presentation is important and may be effected via market and other public demonstrations.
- Conventional or traditional channels should be used as much as
- Major public or private sales (eg to the army, public bodies or companies) may be effective in stimulating sales.
- Early project purchases may be effective in stimulating production, but should be strictly limited in numbers and time so as to not discourage the producers commercial efforts.
- Stove components distribution for assembly in distant areas may be effective in reducing transport costs and overcoming materials or skills shortages in distant markets.
- Producer selection is very important to ultimate marketing effectiveness. That is, the entrepeneur's demonstrated successful experience is one of the best ways of ensuring that marketing will ultimately succeed.
1. Commercialization of improved stoves through small-scale
enterprises or the informal sector will often require access to special sources
of financing other than conventional commercial credit. Borrowing rates and
terms may need to be concessionary and should include provision for working
2. Finance is best channelled through institutions experienced in assisting the small enterprise sector rather than creating new institutions or adding to the mandate of research/technical institutions. These facilities should not necessarly be limited to stove activities.
3. Technical assistance costs will be proportionately higher for small loans and should be financed independently from the loan fund itself.
4. Priority should be given to financing existing enterprises rather than establishing new ones.
5. Financing should only be offered where proper market studies have defined the commercial viability of proposed activities
6. National level advertising and promotional campaigns will usually be necessary for rnaximum exposure of improved stoves; these activities should not be the sole responsibility of private sector firms.
1. Before entering a new phase of a stove programme the question
should be asked: How appropriate is a stove programme?
2. The choice of the source of the household fuel can be strongly influenced by government policies. Substitution or stimulating fuel switchin can be an effective government measure in order to achieve biomass savings.
3. Only in areas where fuel has been commercialised can stove programmes be effective.
4. From a national point of view there are indications that stove programmes have a localised impact on deforestation. However, actual impacts have never been quantified and are difficult to quantify. At the household level there are clearly monetary benefits. Other perceived benefits might include health, safety and improved kitchen management.
5. The collection and assessment of data on the impact of stove programmes on deforestation, fuel saving and the household energy situation should be a continuous process.
6. Management of natural energy sources should be an important aspect of all related government policies.
7. It is recommended that fuel pricing policies be assessed in terms of the actual economic costs of woodfuels.
8. R & D institutions engaged in improved stove programmes have a crucial role to play in addressing technical issues, dissemination and marketing. This role consists of technical research and the development of an effective dissemination policy. Involving end users and producers at an early stage is a key factor for the development of an effective programme.
9. There is a need for a regional network. The membership of the network should be open to all individuals and organizations in the region (government, NGO's and private institutions).
The role of the network is to:
· stimulate a flow of information between all network
· to act as a facilitator between needs/problems and specialized institutions that have technical knowledge.
The flow of information should consist of:
· data exchange
· the organization of special workshops
· study tours to country programmes for institutions.
These recommendations are pointers to what KENGO hopes to do through its Regional Programmes during the next 3 years.