The National Youth Service launched a charcoal production project in its pilot phase at Gemsbokpan farm in Grootfontein, Otjozondjupa region with the aim to create employment opportunities for 55 youths.
The youth will undergo civic training to instil discipline, sense of responsibility and ownership as well as training in harvesting and charcoal making. The project will be launched on the 31 October 2020.
The project is part of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, National Youth Service and National Youth Council's initiative to create employment opportunities for the youth in the biomass sector.
Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Emma Kantema-Gaomas said commercialising the biomass resource for charcoal production provides great opportunities to Namibian youth. She added the charcoal production project will speak directly to youth empowerment, employment creation objectives and the diversification of economic activities
To guide their efforts, the Ministry collaborated with De-bushing Advisory Service (DAS), a capacity development division of the Namibia Biomass Industry Group (N-BiG). Financial support for the concept development was provided by the Government of Germany, through the Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation Project implemented by GIZ in collaboration with Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.
To date, estimates are that 45 million hectares of rangeland are severely affected by bush thickening in Namibia. Despite the negative consequences of bush encroachment, it creates opportunities and multiple benefits. Bush can be selectively harvested and processed to create income in the short-term and help to restore rangeland in the long-term.
Team Leader of the GIZ Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation Project, Johannes Laufs, acknowledged the efforts by the Ministry of Youth for enabling the biomass sector to expand, by serving the most active demography in the country.
Progress Kashandula, CEO of N-BiG said a vibrant bush-biomass sector will provide room for unskilled labour as well as for formal qualifications, this is in line with strategic development goals and Namibia's development agenda.
Handover of the Charcoal and Biomass Utilisation Business concept to Emma Kantema-Gaomas, Deputy Minister of MSYNS by Mr Progress Kashandula, CEO of N-BiG. Also, in the picture is Mr Shivute Katamba (left), MSYNS Acting Executive Director and Mr Johannes Laufs (right), Team leader of GIZ/MEFT Bush control and Biomass Utilisation Project.