Mexico, a 113 million person middle-income emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources and a number of strong industries, has positioned itself as a regional power. However, a significant part of the population (22%) has not received the benefits of the country’s recent economic growth and still lives in high and very high levels of marginality, mostly in rural areas. It is estimated that over six million households use firewood as primary or secondary fuel source to cook, and are affected by indoor air pollution.
Historically the government lacked data to understand the magnitude and complexity of the problem, but in recent years, very detailed information has been compiled, and multiple programs have been launched to address poverty and indoor air pollution. However, the main driver for the government’s cookstove dissemination programs targeting 600,000 families by 2012 has been environmental as part of a national commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 50% between 2000 and 2050.
Addressing the Mexican market is challenging because of the country’s large geography and extreme dispersal of the communities, including almost five million people living in rural communities without access to roads. In addition, the diversity of the population and their traditions - especially those of the more than six million indigenous communities whose mother tongue is not Spanish - not only requires adaptations of the cookstoves, but also of the programs and their approach.
Although the existence of a large number of prior cookstove projects and market players in Mexico is encouraging, more coordinated efforts could help address existing gaps in the cookstove value chain, such as awareness raising, cookstove certification, distribution, monitoring and maintenance. This coordination of efforts - maybe through an independent organization - could help address the lack of long term vision that some programs have had,partially due to government changes every six years.