Terra Nova : recycling urban waste to improve local agriculture

Terra Nova : recycling urban waste to improve local agriculture

Beira, MozambiqueBeira, Mozambique
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Terra Nova is recycling urban solid waste, decreasing methan emissions and pollutions risks. With the waste we are producing organic fertilizer that can improve crop yields and revenues of farmers.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Beira is a very fast growing city of 600.000 citizens where and rural population living in poor conditions emigrate every day. Urban waste production keeps on increasing. At the same time, local food available decreases since peri-urban agriculture does not produce enough. Soils are degraded, therefore quality and amount of vegetables are not sufficient. There is not enough cow manure neither, used as a fertilizer. Low crop yields do not provide farmers enough incomes. In 2008, the total amount of urban waste was disposed on open air dump. Accumulated waste, mainly made of organic matter, degrades itself releasing greenhouse gases (methane, 14 times more powerful then CO2). For local agriculture, farmers had not other choice than applying imported fertilizers.

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

The organic part from urban solid waste can be recycled in compost, which is a natural fertilizer that serves for rehabilitation of agricultural soils and that is better for agriculture than the local cow manure. As 75% of the waste of Beira is organic, we can recycle at least 50% of the waste (20.000 tons/year) – objective that should be reached in 2016 – and make decrease waste pollution. Thus we aim to produce and sell 6.000 tons of compost to reinforce peri urban agriculture crop yields and revenues from 5.000 to 10.000 farmers. Thanks to the compost, population would get more vegetables of good quality, newly available on local markets.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Last year, in 2011, we recycled 2.000 tons of waste, producing over 700 tons of compost. We employed 35 persons, within the poorest of the city (some of them where trying to find something interesting on the dump in order to survive – often without education and decent place to live). The laboratory analysis of the final product and the tests in agriculture confirm the high quality of our product. Also, our clients, mainly living in “residential” areas (300 persons since last year), were all satisfied with the “unbelievable” results of using our compost on their garden (they now have luxuriant garden where normally plants where almost not growing up – even with vegetables). Right now we are entering in the agriculture market in order to increase our sales significantly and to participate to the sustainability of peri-urban agriculture. Compost permits to improve conservation of depleted soils of Beira (sandy soils that do not allow the use of chemical fertilizer). It also increases crop yields and revenues of farmers.

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

Our main partner is the municipality of Beira providing us the waste (raw material). Another important potential partner is the Direction of Agriculture that is running tests in agriculture with us and that shows a real interest to promote the use of our product through peri-urban agriculture as fertilizer to improve crop yields, revenues of farmers and also to rehabilitate poor soils. Even if price of manure (main “informal” competitor) is lower than our compost, the demand is higher than the local supply and its quality is really weak. The “official” competitors are chemical fertilizer, but they do not afraid us because our products used together improve highly the crop results, and in the case of Beira, use of chemicals requires compost or manure due to sandy soils.

Founding Story

French business manager and development program coordinator (NGOs) I had long wanted to build a local development project that is truly sustainable - that is with positive impact on environment and society while generating profits for its perpetuation. In Madagascar I was shocked by the vulnerabilities in the system of waste collection. My initial formation in agriculture, a strong environmental ethic and an 8-year experience in Africa encouraged me to develop a "local" solution for recycling waste which would also enhance agricultural development and decrease emissions of methan. I worked on this concept in Madagascar before starting at the beginning of 2009 in Mozambique. Having the determination to change the social situation of the poorest in the long run, I have used an "Integrative" management method valuating each other's strengths and works with the most motivated, whatever their levels were.
About You
Terra Nova Limitada
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Terra Nova Limitada

Organization Country

, SO, Beira

Country where this project is creating social impact

, SO, Beira

Age of Innovator


Gender of Innovator


How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

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.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Our main impact is on the waste management and pollution risks: our work is the only way to decrease the daily quantity of waste entering in the open air dump and pollution risks linked to it, reducing also methane gas emissions. In 2011 we reached 2.000 tons of organic waste recycled.
Since last year (beginning of the sales) we sold more than 50 tons of compost to more than 300 customers. Satisfied with quality they already began to use the compost for agriculture which encouraged us to develop our own tests with farmers more concerned in availability of new fertilizer.
At the social level we employed in 2011 over 30 people including 20 unskilled workers almost all aged under 25 and 9 women. One employee who was homeless entered the house he built thanks to his wages from Terra Nova, some rehabilitated their homes and others have returned to school in evening classes. Their works have been a great opportunity for being reintegrated in society.

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

Within 3 years, we hope to recycle more than half of the waste collected by the city of Beira, that is more than 25,000 tons per year. This will allow us to employ over 300 people within 90% of unskilled workers and a third of women.
The production of more than 5,000 tons of compost will be sold in the peri-urban area and nearby towns to support peri-urban agriculture of Beira. This should help to promote the diversification of food available, while increasing their quality and incomes of more than 5.000 farmers.

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

- A field too small, the unavailability of waste or a bad will from the municipality would probably stop the project. That is why we have a strong partnership with the city of Beira and their full support, which includes 3 hectares totaly dedicated to our project, free exclusivity of all the waste for at least a 10-years period.
- Ensuring the growth of the sales of compost is crucial for the sustainability of the project. That is why we are conducting a stronger marketing survey about peri-urban agriculture and testing effects of the compost with farmers. We also take great care to the quality of compost and to the sale strategy.

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

In 6 months, we want to have strong bases to enter in agriculture market in the next season that will begin in February.

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

Testing compost in agriculture by offering a bag of compost to a selection of potential farmer customers.

Task 2

Having references of satisfied farmers on various local cultures and make available a “how to use” guide to our future clients.

Task 3

Running a market survey to adapt our marketing and sales strategy to the demand and make easier the entry on this new market.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

In 2013, we want to double the capacity of recycling waste, and sell compost in this new market of agriculture to 200 farmers..

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

Internal training of salesmen on compost use and benefits in agriculture in order to give advices and convince customers.

Task 2

Partnership and training of technicians from direction of agriculture that should recommend to use compost to the farmers.

Task 3

Communication distribution and promotion strategy, within offering first bag to test the effect of compost, running more tests.

Tell us about your partnerships

Main partner is the Municipality of Beira. We signed with them an agreement for free exclusivity of waste for 10 years, 3 ha land and total exemption of taxes.
The French association Gevalor developed a similar project in Madagascar and shares with us its important experience in composting municipal waste in Africa. They also and above all support us in funding research (investment phase) and writing the complex application of carbon credits.
We also received a grant from the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) to partially finance the access of our company to carbon credits.

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