Bush thickening (encroachment) in Namibia is an enourmous environmental challenge, taking place at a growth rate of 3,2% a year. This has an adverse impact on groundwater replenishment, biodiversity is negatively affected and total production of agriculture is reduced considerably. Thus, the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) supported by the GIZ, supports and facilitates the growth of the charcoal industry as one of its main industries. Currently, charcoal is produced on 1,8 Million ha and the area is still growing. While before 2016 the bulk of charcoal was exported to South Africa and the UK, now imports to Europe and the UK exceed export to SA. Even in Austria, Namibian charcoal can be found in some supermarkets. Charcoal production is a means to the responsible restoration of land use and provides income opportunies for rural communities in Namibia.
Michael Degé is the General Manager of the Namibia Charcoal Association in Otjiwarongo, Vapa Haunawa is Director, representing Processors, of the same organisation.