Charcoal exports to increase to 200 000 tons

Namibian charcoal exports are expected to increase to 200 000 tons by 2020 from 160 000 tons that are exported annually.

There are currently around 650 charcoal producers in the country and most producers are commercial or emerging farmers who organise charcoal production on their land, Namibia Charcoal Association (NCA) has said.

“The actual charcoal burning currently supports approximately 6000 workers, making the charcoal sector one of the largest employment generating sub-sectors of the Namibian economy. Most workers are from mobile and migrant populations, primarily from the Kavango and North-Central regions,” the association said.

Adding that more than 30 million hectares of Namibian rangeland are affected by high densities of bush and the causes of bush encroachment are manifold and include unsuitable rangeland management.

Currently, there are 13 charcoal processors in Namibia who purchase charcoal in bulk and they distribute it to different clients and markets.

They refine the product according to the technical parameters agreed with their international clients such as carbon fixation, ash content, volatile matter and moisture content.

Meanwhile, the NCA held its annual conference and expo under the theme ‘Fuelling an economically, socially and environmentally beneficial charcoal industry in Namibia’ at Otjiwarongo whereby most charcoal producers attended the event, NCA office administrator Rolien Coffee has said.

“The event was attended by almost 400 participants and 28 exhibitors. Last year we had 260 participants and 14 exhibitors, making this the highest number of stakeholders to date since the NCA has been organising the sector-wide event,” she said.

She added that the NCA is also supporting the development of Namibia’s own Charcoal Standards which are expected to be finalised by the end of this year.