Turning bush encroachment control into an economic opportunity in Namibia

Turning bush encroachment control into an economic opportunity in Namibia

Windhoek, 18 April 2018 - UNIDO in partnership with the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development (MITSMED), with the financial support from the Foreign Ministry of Finland, conducted a validation workshop to present the results of the inception phase of the project, “Promoting sustainable bush-processing value chains in Namibia” and a Strategic Action Plan. The project is in line with Namibia’s Fifth National Development Plan (NDP 5).

The project addresses the problem of bush encroachment, a natural phenomenon characterized by the excessive expansion of bush (trees and shrubs) at the expense of other plant species, especially grasses. Bush encroachment is estimated to affect up to 45 million hectares of Namibian land and has severe negative consequences on key ecosystem services, especially agricultural productivity and groundwater recharge. Agricultural productivity in Namibia has declined by two-thirds throughout the past decades, mainly due to the negative impact of bush encroachment. The phenomenon affects both commercial and communal farming in Namibia.

The Strategic Action Plan explores the viability of converting bush biomass to livestock feed and charcoal. It also proposes suitable approaches, technologies and production processes at an industrial scale to deliver livestock feed and charcoal, while also considering the potential environmental and social impacts.

Michael Humavindu, Deputy Permanent Secretary of MITSMED, recognized the UNIDO project as a key intervention to achieve the objectives of the Growth at Home Strategy. He added that a draft “National Strategy for the Optimization of Rangeland Management and Encroacher Bush Utilization” would create the enabling environment once approved.

Suvi-Helena Valkonnen, from the Embassy of Finland, praised the transformative nature of the project and its potential for significant social impact.

Khaled El Mekwad, the UNIDO Regional Representative for Southern Africa, added that the project is developing an Agro-Industrial Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as a part of the United Nations Partnership Framework for Namibia (UNPAF 2019-2023) and complies with the UN 2030 Agenda.

The UNIDO project team presented the results of the inception phase and the workplan for the main implementation phase which envisages the establishment of a new production plant in Namibia.

Over the next 24 months, the project will develop and test the demonstration facility with production targets relevant to a commercial operating entity. This will involve local stakeholders for capacity development, exposure to cleaner technology and an efficient production system with the purpose of generating interest from entrepreneurs for future investment.

For more information please contact: details please contact:

Khaled El Mekwad

UNIDO Representative

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Farrukh Alimdjanov

UNIDO Industrial Development Officer

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Kawira Anne Bucyana

UNIDO Project Manager

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