The Namibian (Windhoek)

2 June 2005

Namibia: Communities Test Income-Creation Ideas

Windhoek — THE Ncumcara community near Rundu has embarked on an initiative to generate income for families by selling firewood on the B8 main road to Grootfontein.

Although the sight of bundles of firewood offered for sale in the area is not uncommon, the Ncumcara community is determined to set a new standard.

Under the leadership of the Ncumcara Community Forest Committee, the project is based on the sustainable utilisation of the forest in the region.

A huge pile of neat bundles has been put up for sale approximately 35 km south of Rundu.

The wood comes from Ncumcara, also known as Mile 20.

The committee has received support and extension services on forest management and marketing from the Community Forestry in North-Eastern Namibia (CFNEN) project, which is co-operatively run by the Ministry of Environment: Directorate of Forestry, the German Development Service and the German Bank for Development.

Wycliffe Nabaasa of CFNEN said a number of community forest areas have been identified within the framework of the Namibian Forest Act 2001, while forest-use rights were legally assigned to local communities.

The first phase comprised the development of participatory land use and forest management plans, the introduction of appropriate technologies and the training of local people.

"This means the communities are now well prepared to start harvesting, in the best sense of the word, the fruits of their commitment to sustainable management of forests and tree resources within their traditional areas of jurisdiction," said Nabaasa.

He sees the marketing of firewood as only the first milestone for the people of Ncumcara to start using natural resources to their benefit.

Products to be sold in the future include crafts, handmade baskets, indigenous fruits, and poles and timber.

Wholesalers interested in buying firewood can contact Michaela or Haita at telephone (066) 26 5450, or the FMC chairperson of Ncumcara Community Forest, Paskalius K Hausiku.

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