Bush encroachment project to develop and test demonstration facility over the next 30 months
UNIDO in partnership with the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development (MITSMED), with the financial support from the Foreign Ministry of Finland, conducted a validation workshop recently to present the results of the inception phase of the project, “Promoting sustainable bush-processing value chains in Namibia” and a Strategic Action Plan, according to a report from moderndiplomacy.eu.
The project was launched last year in October with a workshop that was attended by more than 50 participants.
Michael Humavindu, Deputy Permanent Secretary of MITSMED, recognised the UNIDO project as a key intervention to achieve the objectives of the Growth at Home Strategy.
He added that a draft “National Strategy for the Optimization of Rangeland Management and Encroacher Bush Utilization” would create the enabling environment once approved.
Suvi-Helena Valkonnen, from the Embassy of Finland, praised the transformative nature of the project and its potential for significant social impact.
Khaled El Mekwad, the UNIDO Regional Representative for Southern Africa, added that the project is developing an Agro-Industrial Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as a part of the United Nations Partnership Framework for Namibia (UNPAF 2019-2023) and complies with the UN 2030 Agenda.
The UNIDO project team presented the results of the inception phase and the workplan for the main implementation phase which envisages the establishment of a new production plant in Namibia.
Over the next 30 months, the project will develop and test the demonstration facility with production targets relevant to a commercial operating entity. This will involve local stakeholders for capacity development, exposure to cleaner technology and an efficient production system with the purpose of generating interest from entrepreneurs for future investment.
Meanwhile, the project addresses the problem of bush encroachment, a natural phenomenon characterized by the excessive expansion of bush at the expense of other plant species, especially grasses.
Bush encroachment is estimated to affect up to 45 million hectares of Namibian land and has severe negative consequences on key ecosystem services, especially agricultural productivity and groundwater recharge.