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Transitioning low-income homes in Seme, Kenya into cleaner cook-fuels for food-security, land restoration, and prosperity.

Providing clean-cooking fuel solution through sustained food-crop production system in management of better livelihood and land restoration.

Photo of Lorna Omuodo
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

E-Moto Kenya Limited

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

E-Moto Limited is Winners of WRI Land Accelerator 2019 ,The switch dramatically reduces greenhouse gas and soot (black carbon) emissions. This has a great impact on health, especially of women and children.E-Moto Limited (Kenya) is committed to addressi indoor air pollution control by creating commercial business opportunities that are economically viable solutions for energy access to African homes and land-restoration actions. It prides eco-friendly bioethanol fuel brand/ceramic fiberglass renewable wicks and currently ready for full-scale distribution of the market-driven and tested appealing products. In 1.Green Social Bioethanol- Brazil- Change Makers 2018 winners-helps the poorest rural communities to escape energy poverty and its complex outcomes by providing them with an innovative flex bioethanol micro-distillery to produce their own fuel with sucrose/starch. 2. Kisumu County, Kenya Forestry and Kenya Sugar board for political goodwill and data and community participation

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 3-10 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Kisumu County

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

E-Moto Limited CEO very familiar with the zone as this is her village of origin and been working with Villagers in the county government as the Chief office for Green Energy and Climate Change.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Kisumu County is one of the 47 counties created through the devolved system of governance by the Constitution of Kenya 2010 delineated as County number 42. The county has a diverse background comprising of urban and rural set-ups as well as rich ethnic, racial and cultural diversity with the Luo being the dominant community. Kisumu. The county covers approximately 567 km2 on water and 2086km2 land area, representing 0.36% of the total land area of Kenya's 580,367 km2. The county’s strategic position serves as a gateway for Kenya into the rest of the African Great Lakes region. It is located on the shores of Lake Victoria and serves as the main commercial and transport hub for the Western part of Kenya and the East African region. The county hosts the third-largest city in Kenya, Kisumu city, There are five major urban centers; Ahero, Katito, Muhoroni, Chemilil, and Maseno. The major economic activities of the residents are trade, farming, and fishing. Most thermal energy used across all sectors in is generated from wood fuel, fuel oil, agricultural residues. Over 87 percent of households rely on traditional use of biomass for cooking. The use of firewood, charcoal, and paraffin for cooking is prevalent in the County at 58.2 percent, 29.3 percent, and 7.1 percent respectively. Wood fuel is the key source of energy. This has a major impact on sustainable development and land restoration efforts. The land is the most important natural resource that the county is endowed with. It is critical to economic, social, political and cultural development. It is also considered as the principal source of livelihood and most youths are unemployed. Secure access to land, sustainable land use planning and equitable distribution of land remain immensely important for food and nutrition security, the attraction of foreign investors, employment and growth of industries and generally the socio-economic development of the county. Approximately 50 percent of the county’s land surface is grossly underutilized with sparse or no development, especially in rural areas. The County’s performance in this sector has been dismal despite its suitable ecological and climatic conditions for cotton, sugarcane, rice, and horticulture. The County’s total area The County has suitable climatic and ecological conditions for sorghum production. Huge potential also exists in  Fruit tree farming, Livestock, and Aquaponics. There are many dying industries and three State-owned Sugar Milling Factories; Chemelil, Muhoroni, and Miwani which are poorly managed and have all fallen for lack of completion of agricultural value chains and poor production and no energy audit mechanisms. A boost from sugar cane molasses factories will boost Bioethanol production. Diversification in products as syrup and nutritious biscuits for school children. 

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

More than 60% of people of Kenya live below the poverty line (less than $1.25 a day or unable to afford to buy food providing a daily intake of 2,100 kilocalories). These people are assets less or have few assets and cultivating small pieces of land inadequate to sustain a living. The economy of the country has been recovering over recent years. Kenya faces the classic food price dilemma, how to keep farm prices high enough to provide production strengthening motivations for farmers while at the same time keeping them low enough to ensure poor consumers’ access to food. Food price instability is another major problem in Kenya, which is frequently identified as a major obstruction to smallholder productivity growth and food security. Rapid increases in inflation could reduce economic growth and worsen the poverty levels of the citizens of the country. Inflation, corruption, crumbling infrastructure, and high inequality continue to hinder the nation’s development.Sweet sorghum can be used in the production of biofuels in two ways. The stalk and seed are used directly for biomass energy and their high sugar content allows them to be fermented to make domestic bioethanol fuel. The Government of Kenya recognizes that land and environmental degradation pose one serious challenges affecting the country, causing an estimated annual economic loss of USD 390 Million or 3% of the national GDP1 However, these estimates do not include the hidden cost of rehabilitation, loss of biodiversity and unique landscapes. Other than reduced productivity, land degradation also lead to socio-economic problems such as food insecurity, insufficient water and regular loss of livestock. Wood is a key source of energy that has been used for millennia for cooking, boiling water, lighting and heating. Today, about 2.5 billion people depend on biomass energy for cooking and heating, with 87% of this energy being provided by wood (IEA, 2006). In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), more than 90% of the population relies on woodfuel (i.e. firewood and charcoal) as a primary source of domestic energy. Over 80% of households in urban areas use charcoal, while firewood is mainly used in rural areas and by institutions such as schools and certain industries such as the drying of tea. So, clearly, wood energy should not be seen as a marginal, “poor man’s” energy source that is on its way out as countries develop. Woodfuel in Africa is a multi-billion, often cross-border, business worth more than US$ 11 billion and employing over seven million people; this is predicted to rise to US$12 billion and 12 million people in 2020 (FAO, 2014).In addition, urbanization also continues to push up wood demand. The mean of 24-hour average RSP concentration (1400mg/m3), averaged during the 7 hours of daily burning (3000-4000mg/m3), and evening peak levels (up to 3600mg/m3) indicate that deleterious health effects due to exposure to excessive levels of toxic pollutants in smoke from biomass combustion.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Kenya commits to shift to clean cooking through the development of efficient cooking solutions thereby projecting an abatement potential of 7.3 Mt C02e by 2030 as a means to mitigating climate change. Using clean cooking solutions will support the move by the Government to restore Kenya’s forest cover to 10% up from the current 7%. Furthermore, Household Air Pollution (HAP) brought about by cooking using inefficient cooking solutions is a key health risk to populations, and statistics from the Ministry of Health on cooking should motivate us to increase uptake of clean cooking solutions in the country. It is expected that clean cooking will reduce the country’s annual disease burden attributable to HAP from 49% (21,560) to 20%.

With clear financing gaps along the cooking sector value chain, it is expected that facilitating access to finance will address a critical barrier to promoting improved and clean cooking solutions. The assistance should target upstream players including manufacturers and importers of fuels and appliances; midstream players including the distributors with working capital support; downstream players including last-mile distributors; and consumer finance. Formal and informal financial institutions that are ecosystem enablers should also be provided with suitable funding sources that they can channel to this sector. The informal fuels and technology sector is particularly in critical need of financing options tailored to their realities and needs. As mentioned above, most of the programs that provide financial incentives to target sustained interventions, for example, the RBF, have remained inaccessible to the informal cooking sector entrepreneurs for various reasons. While they need to strengthen their capacity to access such funds, the funds should also be designed to accommodate the limitations inherent in the informal cooking sector. Setting achievable requirements without diluting the purposes and aims of these programs will start to bridge the gap between the funds and the informal entrepreneurs. Fiscal incentives should be designed to promote appropriate project design, standardization of products and local manufacturing with the aim of creating meaningful employment opportunities for local technicians and entrepreneurs. This is in line with the Government’s Big Four agenda from a policy perspective. Infrastructural contribution-based closer to production communities and sustained by growth within the producer sites will have a net- impact and produce environmental rewards and services at the grassroots level reducing mass exodus of the population  for improved livelihoods and in line with the new constitutional dispensation of creating solutions at the county governmental levels. 

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Technology: To Use integrated pest and disease management practices using biocontrol. The challenges of in-breeding of seed cultivars to be addressed by organizing elite farmers for seed production and education on seed recycling techniques. We adopt

 seed cultivars with higher ratooning efficiency. Focus on advancements towards Zero discharge and sustainability management. We move into 2050 using integrated big data analysis such as AI and Quantum computing to satisfy both, the market requirements for specific end-use properties of the products manufactured in (bio)chemical reactors and the social and the resource-saving and environmental constraints of the industrial-scale processes and technologies,  In such a frame the future for the science and technologies of new materials can be summarized by four main objectives: (1) a total multiscale control of the process (or the procedure) to increase selectivity and productivity, nano tailoring of materials with controlled structure; (2) a design of novel equipment based on scientific principles and new operation modes and methods of production: process intensification; (3) product design and engineering: manufacturing end-use properties; (4) an implementation of the multiscale and multidisciplinary computational chemical engineering modeling to real-life situations:

 Policy: Kenya’s agricultural sector is guided by the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy,2010- 2020, which aims to increase agricultural productivity, commercialization and competitiveness of the sector’s commodities and enterprises to achieve national food security, increase exports for foreign exchange earnings and create employment opportunities. Despite the policy focus on staple food crops in recent years, these commodities, continue to face non-tariff trade barriers,  which hamper their competitiveness both domestically and regionally. The government recently incentivized the biofuel sector by fiscal policies  waving both Excise and VAT taxes

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

'I dream of a population that is prosperous and healthy. producing and consuming its own Clean fuel and food for sustained unpolluted livelihood developing its own roads schools and hospitals while seeking decent jobs and co-existing in democratic governance and economic liberation without poverty and in a comfortable environment" LORNA OMUODO

Environment: The sweet sorghum food crop will prioritize no-tillage production system to enhance enhances soil aggregation, water infiltration and retention, and carbon sequestration. Practices to increase soil fertility through regenerative practices multiple intercropping with multi-species crops such legumes (cowpeas and beans) and groundnuts, and use of border crops such as sunflower for bee habitat and other beneficial insects will be practiced to increase pollination for better crop yield These intercrops are known to efficiently utilize natural resources such as land, light,  water, and nutrient and increase the challenges of biodiversity, productivity, resilience, and stability of agroecosystem restoration. Sweet sorghum growing belt must unite to reduce waste at different points in the food’s journey from field to family. The players within the sorghum value-chain will be clustered into farmers, input providers, traders and marketers, processors, and consumers. There are awareness creations and sensitization meetings; promote the use of improved agronomic practices and optimize sweet sorghum yields, grain quality, and harvest timing; reduction of waste that occurs due to field losses; adoption of low-cost postharvest technologies such as the use of hermetic storage bags to reduce sweet sorghum grain losses during harvest, transport, or storage and conversion of crushed stalks considered as waste into effective use as briquettes for fuel will provide the community with alternative cooking fuel and reduce demand for forest derived charcoal. The promotion of bioethanol stoves will go a long way in reducing indoor air pollution.

Diets: We envision Kisumu county will have increased consumption of healthy and nutritious indigenous cereals such as sorghum and other indigenous fruits and vegetables, and there will be increased compositing of sorghum with other cereals flours such as maize and wheat.

The community will prioritize access to a cheaper and environmentally friendly cooking fuel Different actors and stakeholders will establish a network for upscaling, documenting and disseminating the innovative healthy and nourishing sorghum-based diets and products, and share experiences and practices. The role of seed producers will be to provide the sweet

sorghum seeds, farmers to produce the crop, input providers to provide integrated pest management and biocontrol of pests and diseases, extension officers to provide advisory services on optimal agronomic practices, aggregators to provide proper storage of grains, nutritionists to promote sweet sorghum-based diets and products and policymakers to

effect policy on composting sorghum flour and bioethanol for cooking.

Our food-crop system will increase dietary diversity as one of the most effective ways to sustainably address undernutrition and micro-nutrient deficiency. Effective ways to promote dietary diversity will involve food-based strategies, such as the promotion of home gardening for production of indigenous vegetables and fruits, and educating the community on better infant and young child

feeding practices, food preparation, and storage/preservation methods to prevent nutrient loss.

Economics: Sorghum is thinly-traded due to low production volumes and poor marketing channels; an estimated 30% of domestic production is marketed. Between 2009 and 2011, there were profound fluctuations in both imports and exports due to a regional drought and food shortage. A large share of traded volumes in these years may have been food aid for Kenya and other countries within the region.

 Except for imports from the United States and European countries in certain years, Kenya usually imports sorghum from neighboring countries of Uganda and Tanzania.

 Sorghum imports from outside the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) regions are subject to a 25% tariff.

 In recent years, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), in collaboration with East African Breweries Ltd. (EABL), has been promoting the use of high-quality white sorghum varieties,

 in beer production. This development has spurred renewed interest in the

commercial production of sorghum, as it offers farmers prospects for higher returns.

Culture: Sorghum is a staple food crop for many low-income households in Kenya. It is typically grown by small-scale, resource-poor farmers and is mainly used for home consumption. As the only cereal species indigenous to Kenya, sorghum is produced throughout much of the country, even in areas with low agricultural potential. Sorghum can grow anywhere from sea level to 2,500 meters above sea level and requires a minimum rainfall of 250 mm per year and a minimum temperature of 10°C. Most cultural acceptance is in Kenya’s Eastern, Nyanza, Western and Rift Valley provinces,  collectively produce 99 percent of the country’s sorghum (MoA-ERA, 2012).

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Email


Join the conversation:

Photo of Cortney Ahern

Hi Lorna Omuodo  - welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!

Thank you for submitting your vision cleaner cooking fuels in Kenya.

A few other questions and suggestions that might help to guide and strengthen your vision:
- For the second on your Vision - what will the food system look like in 2050? Especially if you achieve your solution of providing cleaner cooking fuel, how will that impact the future trajectory of the food system? Tell us the story of how you imagine the future!
- How does the issue of cooking fuel connect systemically to the 6 issue areas of the prize: environment, diets, technology, policy, economics and culture?

I also wanted to make sure that you have seen our Food Vision Prize Toolkit with a lot of information, activities, and guidelines. The Toolkit can help you refine your Vision and make it more systemic, human-centered and well informed for the future. Here is the link to the Prize Toolkit:

Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the deadline on January 31st.

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