Describe Your Solution:
EFA Business Model using agricultural waste as the row material: Though wood-biomass and charcoal fuel use in particular, with low agricultural productivity are interlinked, most current development strategies address these problems separately. Eco-Fuel Africa (EFA) together with the key stakeholders came up with a sustainable, integrative market solution that addresses these complex development challenges simultaneously by creating carbon, or ?char,? from sustainable and renewable biomass such as agricultural waste (rather than trees), and promotes its use as both a cooking fuel (?green charcoal?) as well as a sustainable soil amendment (?biochar?). This model begins with a network of smallholder farmers, who are trained to produce char out of their agricultural waste biomass (sugar cane litter, maize cobs/husks, rice straw/husks, stover, tea pruning etc) using simple, easy-to-use kilns constructed from locally sourced recycled 55-gallon barrels. Capacity building trainings (lasting 3 to 5 days) are conducted to train farmers. After the capacity building trainings, each farmer takes home a kiln under a lease-to-own program and monetizes their waste biomass by converting it into char, about 80 percent of which is sold to EFA and 20 percent of which is retained by the farmers and applied to their gardens as biochar, an organic fertilizer which has scientifically proven to increase soil fertility, increase water retention and sequester C02 by burying it in the soil where it belongs. Farmers are able to make incomes of up to $30/month from selling char to EFA, augmenting incomes in Uganda by 20-40 percent and paying off the kiln in 3-12 months. Farmers are also able to increase their food harvests by over 50 percent by applying biochar to their gardens. It is important to note that while the inclusion of biochar in the EFA value chain amplifies social impact, it also makes business sense. Higher crop yields not only result in more food to harvest, it also increases the volume of waste biomass available for conversion to char after the harvest. By blending biochar introduction into a green charcoal production model, EFA is able to maximize char production per kiln, resulting in better profit margins for all stakeholders across the supply chain. EFA promotes the use of biochar through demonstration sites within the community and by working closely with the leadership of local farmer cooperatives, so that there is a natural adoption of the soil amendment. Most farmers find the waste management of their agricultural residues an inconvenient nuisance and burn the waste in open fields. This leads to the increase of C02 in the air and other harmful pollutants. EFA has successfully been able to turn waste management into something of significant value for the farmers. EFA than buys the char from farmers who bring it directly to the central production center, as well as to EFA?s decentralized collection centers which are in villages close to the farmers .Records of production and sales are maintained by both parties, farmers are paid cash for their char, and the char is brought to a central production facility.EFA then converts the char bought from farmers into clean burning fuel briquettes that people can use to cook their food and heat their homes instead of fuel-wood using simple locally available technology. At the production facility the business runs the char through a grinder and sifts out the remaining chunks of char. The char is then broken into dust, mixed with water into a slurry, and run through mechanical briquette press machine called the Eco-fuel Press. Eco-fuel Press requires no electricity to operate and like the kiln is designed to be simple to operate and maintain, even for those individuals who are not accustomed to operating machinery. This is enabling EFA to take clean cooking fuel to villages with no electricity and create many jobs for youths, women and farmers at the base of the pyramid. The resultant green charcoal briquettes are dried in the sun and ambient heat for 1 to 2 days and then bagged for delivery.