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Need for charcoal production facilities identified

2022-08-12  Staff Reporter

Need for charcoal production facilities identified

Among the challenges identified in Namibia’s Wood Charcoal industry during the implementation of phase one of the Growth at Home Strategy was that the industry is quite capital intensive for some farmers to venture in. 

Additionally, farmers and interested producers or investors required technical information on factors such as the standards for wood charcoal required for export, transport and lack of research and development. 

According to the trade and industrialisation ministry, the need for charcoal production factories was also identified in strategic areas such as Omaheke, Otjozondjupa and Oshikoto regions, where invader bush is predominant and thus yields high volumes of charcoal. 

Also, the number of wood charcoal producers had increased from 350 (2014) to 1082 at the end of 2020, with export volumes of value-added wood charcoal accounting for 60 000

Export markets at the end of 2020 for wood charcoal were South Africa, Japan and Pakistan – and there have been efforts to access the Turkish market. 

Meanwhile, the ministry constructed a charcoal production factory at Witvlei and together with the University of Namibia (Unam), the University of Finland and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) completed the construction of the Biomass Charcoal Factory earlier this year at Otjiwarongo, Otjozondjupa region. 

The ministry has also mobilised regional councils and regional development committees to decentralise development programmes by the MIT, including its policies and strategies to ensure implementation thereof through mentorship and business support services. 

“This ministry’s engagement effort is, therefore, extended to all who are considering investing in the wood charcoal industry and equally all other growth sectors,” stated the ministry’s senior communications officer Anna Salkeus. 

Namibia is currently in phase two of the implementation of the Growth at Home Strategy, which is the theme chosen by the trade and industrialisation ministry to reinforce the importance of accelerating economic growth, reducing income inequality and increasing employment. 

Growth at Home places greater emphasis on the significance of industrialisation by strengthening national value chains and creating more efficient linkages within the economy, improvements in the ease of doing business and ongoing engagement of collaboration between government and the private sector. 

The Strategy further provides a road map for the execution of Namibia’s Industrial Policy in the context of Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan (NDP4). 

It focuses on three Strategic Intervention Areas: supporting value addition, upgrading and diversification for sustained growth; securing market access at home and abroad, and improving the investment climate and conditions. 

These interventions are aimed at supporting value addition and will stimulate the development of local industries by utilising the potential of local procurement measures and generating synergies between local producers and large retailers. 

Another main focus under this strategic area will be creating conditions that will boost Namibian exports as well as the capacity of Namibian firms to supply and export at a competitive level. 

The emphasis during Phase Two of the Strategy shifted towards being a regional player, whereas the focus of Phase One (2015-2020) was on laying a strong foundation in sectors where Namibia already has a comparative

These sectors included Agro-processing (wood charcoal), fish-processing, steel manufacturing, automotive industry, chemical and metal fabrication, taxidermy, Swakara wool, cosmetics as well as jewellery and coloured gemstone industries. 

2022-08-12  Staff Reporter

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