11 Sep 2023
The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism has emphasised at the just ended Biomass Fair 2023 the government's wish for more cooperation with the industry.
This would ensure responsible bush biomass resource utilisation to achieve rangeland restoration while safeguarding environmental well-being, said Timo Mufeti, the environmental commissioner in the Ministry.
“It is amazing how this new industry sector has grown in leaps and bounds in the past ten years,” he noted.
Some 45 million hectares for potential farming land are thickly covered with encroaching bush species, making farming impossible unless the bush is thinned by physically removing bushes.
The “harvested” biomass is mainly converted to charcoal for meat barbecues and also wood pellets on a smaller scale.
Namibia's state-owned electricity utility is planning 40-megawatt power plant near Otjiwarongo, which will be exclusively run with biomass gained from bush harvesting,
The three-day fair at the Gross Barmen tourism resort west of Okahandja ended on 9 September and drew hundreds of visitors, especially from the farming community. Some seventy delegates attended the scientific research symposium on the first day and the industry forum the next day drew even more attendees.
The GIZ's (Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit) Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation (BCBU) project played a significant part to develop the fledgling industry and brought significant investments, Mufeti noted. The GIZ project ends in March 2024.
A best practice guide for the biomass sector will be published by the end of 2023.
The Charcoal Association of Namibia (CAoN) reported that its membership increased from 280 in 2016 to 1,617 members this year.
The exhibition of machinery to increase bush thinning outputs and stoves for burning charcoal also attracted large crowds.
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