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Another biomass certification platform launched for local charcoal producers

Another biomass certification platform launched for local charcoal producers

By Freeman Ya Ngulu.

The enormous potential of charcoal production and export to generate income streams for rural communities, has prompted yet another industry body to offer charcoal certification under the biomass label.

Recently, the Namibia Biomass Industry Group (N-BiG) has taken the initiative to join the SURE certification scheme in its capacity as a National Supporting Body, to promote sustainable biomass certification in Namibia as a tool to open export markets for local producers.

Given the sensitivity around so-called green issues, charcoal producers cannot export their products to overseas markets without relevant certification for that particular market. This often proves to be a major constraint to small producers who do not have the capital to pay for the certification process.

For instance, in June 2022, Africa Burns Charcoal became the first company to export significant consignments of charcoal to the United States following their certification through USAID.

A year later, in June 2023, broad-based certification to all local charcoal producers became available after CMO International launched a mobile app for Namibian charcoal producers to obtain international certification for the European and American markets. This certification is based on standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council, giving Namibian producers access to the ForestTrader portal.

Bringing N-BiG into the ambit of certified products, is the first step for the German SURE certification scheme to offer biomass certification to African producers.

N-BiG is a non-profit organisation founded in 2015 under the auspices of the development cooperation between Namibia and Germany through the Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation Project implemented by the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism in conjunction with the German Cooperation for International Development (GiZ).

N-BiG stated that its mission is to shape the future of bio-energy and bio-based products driving innovation and technological development across the country. The association’s membership includes a diverse set of stakeholders in the Namibian bio-energy sector, ranging from industry players such as farmers and service providers to public institutions, academia, research institutes, technical experts and beyond.

SURE congratulated N-BiG for joining its certification system and believes the association’s expertise and network will support Sustainable Resources Verification Scheme GmbH in its goal of advocating sustainable biomass production and exploring international market opportunities for African producers.


About The Author

Freeman Ya Ngulu

Freeman Ngulu is an investigtor, an author and a keen entrepreneur. His speciality is data journalism for which he loves to dig deep into topics often ignored by mainstream reporting. He tweets @hobameteorite.