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From bush to fuel to jobs

Omuriro Biomass use this monster to cut invader bush which is then left to dry before chipped and pressed into logs as a substitute for firewood. Called Egologs, this alternative bio-fuel holds multiple benefits including reduction of bush encroachment, conservation of endangered trees and excellent wood logs for braais and household fires. It also creates jobs.

Omuriro Biomass use this monster to cut invader bush which is then left to dry before chipped and pressed into logs as a substitute for firewood. Called Egologs, this alternative bio-fuel holds multiple benefits including reduction of bush encroachment, conservation of endangered trees and excellent wood logs for braais and household fires. It also creates jobs.

Omuriro Biomass’ Ecologs began with a bright idea and finance from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) at the beginning of 2013. At the end of 2013, the organisation and its innovative environmental product is on the road to success.
Bush encroachment, the result of overgrazing, is a problem for Namibian agriculture. When cattle overgraze on grass, they create perfect conditions for thorn bushes to shoot up. As more and more thorn bushes grow, the area available for grazing shrinks, creating difficult conditions for farmers. In addition, the thorn bushes are difficult and expensive to clear. Heiko Meyer and Norbert Liebich looked at what was considered a major problem and saw an opportunity to create benefits for farming, low income households and conservation, with the possibility of an export product as well.

By harvesting the invader bush they could clear land for farmers, provide a sustainable source of fuel for household fires, and reduce the incidence of cutting down protected trees such as the Camelthorn. In order to create a usable source of fuel, the two realised that the bush would have to be converted into the form of logs. So the idea of the Ecologs, was born.
DBN Acting Head of Lending, John Mbango, said agri-processing is normally associated with meat, dairy and grain, so Ecologs is a standout for the Bank. “We immediately saw the many benefits from the Omuriro Biomass project and the financing decision was relatively easy.” After a transport mishap with the chipping machine was sorted out, actual production began in September this year and the company has cleared 300 hectares of bush. Currently the company is able to clear four hectares of bush per day. The company now employs 23 Namibians, eight of whom are women.

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