CleanStar Mozambique: an integrated food, energy and forest protection venture

CleanStar Mozambique: an integrated food, energy and forest protection venture

MozambiqueBeira, Mozambique
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

CleanStar Mozambique is an integrated food, energy and forest protection business, producing and retailing a modern and affordable ethanol-based cooking solution for urban households in Africa. CSM reverses the destructive cycle of charcoal, by shifting consumer demand to sustainably-produced ethanol, and harnessing urban spending on cooking fuel to drive rural development and reforestation.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Urban households in Maputo spend ~$30/month to buy charcoal for cooking, sometimes this represents over 30% of their income. As reported by WHO, charcoal and wood cause over 2million deaths per year globally and a number of chronic respiratory illnesses due to the indoor air pollution they produce, affecting especially women and children. Charcoal is also one of the main causes of deforestation. In the rural areas it represents the only cash income for smallholder farmers, who still practice the typical slash-burn-degrade-move farming system, which is degrading their land and force them into subsistence and food insecurity. Charcoal production and consumption also contribute to global climate change through the emission of black carbon, one of the most dangerous GHGs.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

CleanStar Mozambique (CSM) is an integrated food, energy and forest protection business, producing and retailing a modern and affordable ethanol-based cooking solution for urban households in Africa. CSM reverses the destructive cycle of charcoal, by shifting consumer demand to sustainably-produced ethanol, and harnessing urban spending on cooking fuel to drive rural development and reforestation. CSM enables smallholder farmers to transition from subsistence “slash and burn” farming to sustainable surplus production by adopting a low-input agroforestry system that produces cassava, cowpeas, soya, sorghum and groundnut while planting and managing native trees. CSM buys surpluses from farmers, and efficiently converts them into packaged food products and an ethanol-based liquid cooking fuel in the company’s integrated food and energy facility. CSM's distribution network finally sells food, fuel and a clean ethanol cookstove to low-income households in Maputo at affordable prices.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

CSM is currently working with 250 farmers enabling them to switch from subsistence farming to sustainable surpluses production while restoring the land through conservation agriculture practices. The baseline practice in rural Mozambique is deforestation for charcoal production followed by slash & burn agriculture, resulting in extremely degraded soil and low productivity. CSM provides farmers with improved planting materials and extension services assisting them in the implementation of agroforestry practices on their own land. Thanks to the improved productivity, farmers are able to produce surpluses and sell them to the market, tripling their incomes, and improving their livelihoods and food security. By diversifying crop production, farmers’ nutrition is also improved. By 2014, CSM’s agroforestry program will involve over 2,000 farmers. Two million trees will have been planted as forest shelterbelts around farmer fields, and smallholder farmers’ income will be tripled. CSM's distribution network in Maputo will reach 100 shops and 80,000 households will be using CSM cooking solution instead of charcoal. This will prevent over 20,000ha of forest destruction annually, and reducing emissions of CO2 and soot by hundreds of thousands of tonnes annually.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

CSM is the only commercial-scale venture in the clean cooking industry/movement that is successfully targeting the cooking fuel value chain. Most of the initiatives within the industry are NGO or aid-industry oriented, and are not commercially viable on a stand-alone basis. This impedes their capacity to really scale – which requires commercial capital. Additionally, most of the initiatives are narrowly focused on the stoves, which are only one part of the commercial ecosystem that needs to be built in order to clean up cooking. By pioneering this integrated value-chain approach to clean cooking fuel in Mozambique, CSM is leading in the creation of a profitable new industry that has the potential to convert a material component of urban charcoal consumption to a clean, safe alternative.
Team

Founding Story

There were many "aha" moments in the evolution of CSM’s business model. The first occurred while studying deforestation in Mozambique in mid-2009, and we realized the price and amount of charcoal consumed in cities: it was clear that there was a significant opportunity to launch a cost-competitive alternative to charcoal. The second "aha" moment occurred in late 2009 in Copenhagen when we heard about clean and modern ethanol-based stoves used in refugee camps in Africa: we instantly realized that ethanol-based cooking was an ideal alternative to charcoal, as ethanol could be produced locally at low-cost. The final "aha" moment occurred while visiting subsistence farming communities: farmers were already growing affordable feedstock sources for ethanol production and could significantly boost their production to generate surpluses for sale, by adopting low-input conservation agriculture practices that would simultaneously boost their own food production.
About You
Organization:
CleanStar Mozambique
About You
First Name

Sagun

Last Name

Saxena

About Your Organization
Organization Name

CleanStar Mozambique

Organization Country

, SO, Beira

Country where this project is creating social impact

, SO

Age of Innovator

Over 34

Gender of Innovator

Male

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation
How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in underserved communities? (select all applicable)

Access to supply chains, Access to economic opportunity.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

CSM currently directly employs 150 staff, equally distributed among the cultivation, processing and distribution units of the business. In Maputo, two thousand low-income households are now customers of CSM, utilizing the NDZiLO clean cooking solution on a daily basis, improving their indoor air quality and reducing respiratory disease. Each household comprises of 5 members on average.

In the rural areas, CSM is currently working with 250 farmers enabling them to switch from subsistence farming to sustainable surpluses production while restoring the land through conservation agriculture practices. The baseline practice in rural Mozambique is deforestation for charcoal production followed by “slash and burn” agriculture, resulting in extremely degraded soil and low productivity. By enhancing and diversifying crop production, food security and farmers’ nutrition are greatly improved.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

By 2014, CSM’s agroforestry program will involve over 2,000 farmers. Two million trees will have been planted as forest shelterbelts around farmer fields, and smallholder farmers’ income will be tripled. 80,000 households will be using the NDZiLO cooking solution instead of charcoal. This will prevent over 20,000ha of forest destruction annually, and reducing emissions of CO2 and soot by hundreds of thousands of tons annually.

The objective once we have proved the concept is profitable at large scale is to replicate this business model in other regions of Mozambique and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa currently relying heavily on charcoal for cooking.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Potential barriers to CSM's success are:

Reluctance of urban households to switch to a new form of cooking: Before choosing the stove and fuel to sell, CSM went through a long reasearch and analysis process that included household energy surveys and focus groups. The fuel and cookstove we sell were selected based on customers' preferences and with the support of a local partner with longterm experience in the same sector. Further more, based on the first feedbacks we received from customers we are planning to partner with a product design company to better customize the stove to local needs.

Lack of skilled human resources: Thanks to its innovative model, CSM has attracted local and international talents who want to be part of this success story.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Impact on jobs: Clean cookstove is manufactured in the region (Currently manufactured in EU and assembled locally).

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Find a stove manufacturer

Task 2

Reach an agreement with IP owner

Task 3

Create supply chain

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Impact on rural development: Number of farmers partnering with CSM reaches 2,000

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Improve cassava's pre-processing methodology

Task 2

Replicate Community Processing Centers (from the current 2 to 5)

Task 3

Increase outreach to farmers to other regions than Sofala

Sustainability
Tell us about your partnerships

- Novozymes, Danish biotechnology group, and CSM’s strategic investor, is a crucial provider of enzymes for ethanol production.
- ICM, a leading ethanol plant builder, has built CSM’s food and energy plant.
- International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and Institute for Agrarian Research of Mozambique, are providing advanced varieties of cassava.
- Dometic, a Swedish leisure products company, provides CSM with a customized clean cookstove.
- Impact Carbon supported CSM's carbon finance deal.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list