Lao PDR is a landlocked country in South East Asia with a population of 6.5 million people. 67% of its population live in rural areas. The majority of the population derive their livelihood from agriculture which accounts for more than half of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Most of Lao low-income population, both in the rural and urban areas, depend primarily on wood and charcoal for their cooking and heating needs. According to a 2011 report, cooking fuel accounts for 70% of the nation’s overall energy consumption. This high dependence on biomass resources degrades the local environment, requires considerable time for fuel collection, is costly, and creates indoor air pollution that harms people’s health. In addition, the burning of coal and wood contributes considerably to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission problem. The project Improved Cook Stove (ICS) Programme Lao PDR identified the main bottleneck in the ICS supply side while the demand side showed a progressive trend. The project assisted ICS producers to meet quality standards and ensure a stable supply.
The project sought to contribute towards poverty alleviation through the development of a sustainable supply chain of cleaner and fuel efficient cook stoves. It aimed at making ICS dominate 50% of the cook stove market share, and targeted consumers in five provinces for better awareness and access to purchase ICS, as an affordable and high quality alternative to the tra-ditional cook stoves. The project aimed at the following results:
- For 15 small- and medium-sized stove producers to produce 100 000 ICS sustainably;
- 150 SME retailers to promote ICS;
- Lao Women’s Union to assume its role as an effective promotional partner;
- Improved access to the clean and fuel efficient cook stove;
- Five testing agencies operational;
- A national standard for stoves endorsed;
- A multi-stakeholder partnership established.
The Way Forward
- Ensuring Quality of Products
- Creating Market Demand
- Consumer Promotion Campaign
- Establishing Public/Private/Civic Partnership
- Engaging with Policymakers
- Improving Access to Finance