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 01 Oct 2019

By Frank Steffen, Windhoek

Interessenvertreter nehmen an Holzenergie-Treffen in Würzburg teil

Die nachhaltige Biomassenproduktion Namibias wird weiterhin in Zusammenarbeit mit deutscher Hilfe vorangetrieben. Holzkohle bleibt die treibende Kraft hinter dieser Nutzung und ist die Obergrenze – anders als im Fall des unkontrollierten Kahlschlags im Nordwesten Namibias – noch lang nicht erreicht.


Namibia presented itself as a possible future partner country at the 19th specialist congress for wood energy. For this purpose, a separate program under the title "Large biomass supply" was created and explained by guest speakers and information stands. Joseph Hailwa, Forestry Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), recognized the conference participation as a success for the Namibian biomass industry. They advertise Namibia and make contacts.

The specialist congress took place on 25 and 26 September 2019 as the leading event of the German national wood energy market. The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) had invited Namibian stakeholders to this meeting, which this year featured under the slogan "Sustainable solutions for climate protection". The specialist congress, which was carried out by the Fachverband Holzenergie in the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), aims to actively exchange information among about 250 industry representatives.

"Germany has made the political decision to stop the burning of coal. Namibia's bush biomass clearly has the potential to play a role in the biomass import sector - assuming competitiveness and sustainability of production and supply. Investment decisions are expected in the next three to five years, "said Matthias Held, CEO of the German Wood Energy Association.


Namibia describes potential

At the conference, the current state of affairs of the legislation and corresponding recommendations for further market and project development were discussed. The delegation from Namibia was composed of representatives of the National Planning Commission, the MAWF and the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Environmentalists, researchers and industry representatives - including the Namibian Charcoal Association (NCA), the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (from the logistics sector) and the Namibian Biomass Industry Group (N-BiG) were also present. The delegation visit was moderated by the GIZ Busch Control and Biomass Utilization Project (BCBU).

According to a GIZ release, more than 30 million hectares of pasture in Namibia are considered as being hayed - accounting for one-third of the agricultural area. It is estimated that 300 million tonnes of biomass are available for sustainable harvest as part of pastureland restoration. According to N-BiG, currently only 1.36 million tons of bush biomass are used each year and the harvest and logistics structures need to be significantly improved in order to exploit the socio-economic and environmental benefits.


Forestry Office must be more active

The charcoal producers have recently been criticized for their control of decommissioning in Namibia apparently only conditionally, or among their members and not nationwide. The NCA and N-BiG are the driving forces behind controlled biomass use. In doing so, they are often acted as responsible authorities, while this basically belongs to the duty of the forestry office. This office is increasingly coming under fire as it does not follow the bills when it comes to checks on logging and biomass crops across the country - in both cases protected trees are partially threatened.

While private-sector roleplayers are largely guided by the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) sustainability guidelines, the forestry agency is only now looking at overall control after devastating consequences in the northwest of the country.

SOURCE: Allgemeine Zeitung