Pilot charcoal production project in communal areas commences
Harvesting of woody resources for commercial use has been prohibited in communal areas due to experience showing that the commercial harvesting of woody resources in communal areas possesses multiple risks for overutilisation and less clarity on the accountability for commercial related activities such as charcoal production.
To address the problem, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism through its Directorate of Forestry is piloting a project to determine whether the known risks involved in commercial harvesting and utilisation can be avoided or minimised.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) communal pilot project was launched at Ozonahi Community Forest in Okakarara district by the Director of Forestry, Joseph Hailwa in the company of the Environmental Commissioner, Timoteus Mufeti.
The pilot is expected to develop suitable methods to control bush encroachment through sustainable bush harvesting and utilisation in communal areas and the best way that promotes fair benefit sharing. Most importantly, to promote good environmental practices that prevent land degradation and achieve sustainable utilisation of woody resources.
The ‘Commercialisation of Bush Biomass in Communal Areas through FSC certification’ pilot project supports community forests to test suitable methods for harvesting and processing bush biomass in communal areas through sustainable charcoal production.
Among others, the six-month pilot project aims to promote the inclusiveness of the Namibian bush biomass and charcoal sector; increase the Namibian FSC certified production capacity for potential export of Namibian bush biomass and charcoal; and to foster communal compliance with international environmental and social standards.
The pilot project represents the first phase of testing in a communal setting and serves to certify three different Community Forests in Otjozondjupa Region; Ozonahi, Otjituuo and African Wild Dog to produce FSC certified charcoal for the local and export markets.
In 2020, Namibia set a record with 1,6 million hectares of FSC certified area.